by Radar Staff
On the heels of the Pentagon’s historic repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — a move widely praised by advocates for equality everywhere — a gay soldier was booed after asking a question about DADT during the Republican presidential debate in Orlando, Florida on Thursday night.
During the debate, Fox anchor Megyn Kelly — who served as the debate’s host — played a YouTube clip directed at conservative candidate Rick Santorum.
In the clip, Stephen Hill, a soldier in Iraq who, up until the repeal of DADT, had to “lie about who [he] was” in order to “not lose his job” and keep serving in the army.
Hill specifically asked: “Under one of your presidencies, do you intent to circumvent the progress that’s been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military…?”
At this point, several people in the audience booed the soldier.
Santorum then proceeded to answer the soldier’s question, saying: “I would say any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military. The fact they are making a point to include it as a provision within the military that we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege to, and removing don’t ask don’t tell. I think tries to inject social policy into the military. And the military’s job is to do one thing: to defend our country…”
As Santorum continued, the crowd began loudly cheering.
Kelly followed up the soldier’s question by asking him: “What would you do with soldiers like Stephen Hill? Now he’s out.. What would you do as President?”
Santorum responded: “What we are doing is playing social experimentation with our military right now. That’s tragic. I would just say that going forward we would reinstitute that policy if Rick Santorum was president. That policy would be re-instituted as far as people in, I would not throw them out because that would be unfair to them because of the policy of this administration. But we would move forward in conformity with what was happening in the past. Which was- sex is not an issue. It should not be an issue. Leave it alone. Keep it to yourself whether you are heterosexual or homosexual.”