Gay Soldier Gets Booed For Asking About Don’t Ask Don’t Tell At GOP Debate

So far, audience members at September’s Republican debate have cheered the death of 234 people in Texas and the idea of letting someone without health insurance die. Last night, there were actually boos for a member of the United States military:

At Thursday night’s Fox News/Google Republican Presidential Debate, the crowd was once again the star of an ugly moment. Moderator Megyn Kelly introduced a question via Youtube from Stephen Hill, a soldier who’s currently serving in Iraq. When the man asked what the candidates would do about the US policy on gays in the military, like himself, several in the crowd booed loudly. When candidate Rick Santorum replied that he would reinstate DADT, a thunderous ovation followed.

“Do you plan to circumvent the progress that has been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military?” Hill asked, to several loud boos, and silence from the rest of the crowd. There was no applause when his service to our nation was mentioned, and the crowd thunderously approved of Santorum’s answer, that he would reinstate “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”

From the look of him, I doubt very much anyone in that audience would have booed him to his face.

One would think not, and if there’s one thing I never thought I’d see at a Republican debate it would be a member of the United States military serving his country in a dangerous part of the world getting booed because he happens to be gay. And yet, that’s exactly what happened:

Of course, Santorum’s response wasn’t much better. He said, rather bizarrely, that sexual activity has no place in the military, which leads one to wonder if he wants to create an all-virgin military, or if he wants to model the Marines after the Catholic Priesthood (an experiment that I am confident in saying would most assuredly fail). And, he called repealing the law that forced gay and lesbian soldiers to live their private lives in secret for fear of ruining their careers as “social experimentation.” As the leaders of the gay conservative GOProud said last night, Santorum owes Hill an apology:

“Tonight, Rick Santorum disrespected our brave men and women in uniform, and he owes Stephen Hill, the gay soldier who asked him the question about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal, an immediate apology.

“That brave gay soldier is doing something Rick Santorum has never done – put his life on the line to defend our freedoms and our way of life.  It is telling that Rick Santorum is so blinded by his anti-gay bigotry that he couldn’t even bring himself to thank that gay soldier for his service.

“Stephen Hill is serving our country in Iraq, fighting a war Senator Santorum says he supports.  How can Senator Santorum claim to support this war if he doesn’t support the brave men and women who are fighting it?”

And yet the members of the crowd in Orlando cheered Santorum and booed a man who’s putting his life on his line for his country. Because he’s gay. That’s pretty pathetic.

Screen capture via The Atlantic

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Military Affairs, National Security, Quick Takes, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. anjin-san says:

    if there’s one thing I never thought I’d see at a Republican debate it would be a member of the United States military serving his country in a dangerous part of the world getting booed because he happens to be gay

    Why on earth would you think that? This is today’s GOP. “Support the troops” is a political slogan, nothing else. The GOP position on this is very clear. If you are gay and wish to put your life on the line serving your country, you should be forced to live a lie.

  2. legion says:

    From the look of him, I doubt very much anyone in that audience would have booed him to his face.

    Of course not. Everyone that booed was a vile coward. And I _would_ say that to any of their faces.
    It was depressing, but even more disturbing was the fact that neither Santorum nor anyone else on that stage so much as blinked when it happened. When have you ever seen a politician of any stripe not take an opportunity to wave the flag & say something about how much they support our troops? When they’re pandering to an audience of thugs and filth. Every person who was on that stage & didn’t call out those who booed should _never_ be considered for office. They’re all a bunch of traitors, dirtbags, and a lot of other things I can;t even type this early in the morning…

  3. Boyd says:

    That’s pretty pathetic.

    ^ This. ^

    Regardless of one’s position on gays serving in the military, there’s no excuse for that kind of behavior toward the questioner. While I, like James, shake my head over how Americans have gone overboard in exalting servicemembers, this is a matter of basic respect, and basic respect is something that every servicemember deserves from every American.

  4. Anonne says:

    Mr. Hill, as a gay soldier, is a bigger man than Santorum will ever be.

  5. mattb says:

    Any one want to take bets about how many of the yahoo’s who boo’d actually did military service (and probably at one point or another have complained about those “libs” hating our troops)? And of course Santorum didn’t serve.

    Side note: how long till the meme emerges that the boo’s were democratic plants?

  6. carlo says:

    The crowd in Orlando that disrespected our service member is also to blame, BOYCOT DISNEY WORLD, hit ’em in the they’re pocketbook teach them a lesson. The Mayor of Orlando this military man an apology as well!

  7. James in LA says:

    Oh yes this will sell nationally. Rick Perry ought to just start calling ’em sissies and fags and get it over with. Just come out and say what you want to say already. Ditto, the President.

    O just won another 2-3 states next year.

    We witness a Last Gasp of a terrible ideology. It will not go quietly, and we must remember it remains heavily armed. But go it will, and must. When its elders die, they are not being replaced.

    The real stain is on the candidates, who said NOTHING.

  8. Nikki says:

    Side note: how long till the meme emerges that the boo’s were democratic plants?

    Ask and ye shall receive, though she doesn’t explicitly say Democratic plant…

  9. Chris1791 says:

    Everyone here should have to state if they are gay or not before they comment. I am straight for the record. You disrespect a former United States Senator. There were 5,000 people there and a couple of people booed. Get over yourself. If I applied your principle of hate then I would be able to condemn every gay person in the world for the crap that a few of you said. You all need to get a life. You are at best 10% of the general population so how many gay people actively serve in the military .00003,% of the general population. We are spending way to much time on this when we have real issues to save our country. Because if we collapse the next form of government might not just allow people to boo gay people they may allow what Islam allows and to stone them to death in the town square. This issue is like you are complaining about having a hang-nail when you are on the deck of the Titanic. Get your priorities straight.

  10. Sean says:

    That is a damn shame. How could you boo a man who is serving his country in what many people believes a waste of time because of the fact hes Gay!!! and you want me to go out there and vote for you. Wow i dont honestly know what to say. Plain ignorance. I bet however if it was a heterosexual person asking a question he would have gotten a standing ovation