If elected president, Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) says he would reinstate the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy because it was so effective.
“I think it worked very well,” Perry told ABC’s Christiane Amanpour Tuesday. “I think the idea that the president of the United States wanted to make a political statement using our men and women in the military as the tool for that was irresponsible.”
“So many allied governments — whether it’s Israel, whether it’s England or France — have [allowed gays to join the military] and they say they have strengthened their armed forces,” Amanpour noted. “And you remember during the Iraq war, there was so many gay people who couldn’t serve in desperately needed positions and that harmed national security.”
“I don’t necessarily agree with your premise,” Perry replied. “What I agree with is that the president of the United States, changing a policy that was working well and to do it while we were at war in two different theaters, I think was irresponsible. And I truly believe that he did it to respond to his political base.”
“You were in the Air Force. Would you have been uncomfortable serving with openly gay members of the Air Force?” Amanpour asked.
“I don’t ask that question,” Perry insisted. “If an individual in their private life makes a decision about their sexuality from the standpoint of how they are going to practice it, that’s their business. I don’t think that question needs to be asked. That’s the reason ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ was, in fact, a workable policy. And that’s where I would be comfortable with our country going back to that.”
Over 14,000 of the estimated 65,000 gays and lesbians serving in the military were discharged under the policy that was enacted in 1994.
Moments after the ban was repealed on Sept. 20, Navy Lt. Gary Ross became the first gay service person to legally marry his same sex partner.
Watch the video below from ABC News’s Newsmakers, broadcast Nov. 8, 2011.