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Huntsman, Johnson say booing of gay soldier not appropriate
At Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate in Florida, a gay soldier serving in Iraq was booed by the audience because he asked a question about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. None of the candidates on stage came to his defense.
After the debate, many moderate Republicans spoke out against the audience’s behavior.
Stephen Hill, the soldier, asked the candidates what they would do with DADT if they took over the White House. As he did, the audience booed, and Santorum responded that he would reinstate the policy, which only repealed last week.
Santorum overlooked that a soldier serving in Iraq during a time of war had been disrespected by the audience. That drew a sharp rebuke from Republicans who support LGBT members of the Armed Forces.
“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,” said a statement from GOProud, a conservative gay rights group aligned with the tea party. “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.
“It was unfortunate,” Jon Huntsman told Talking Points Memo. “You know, we’re all Americans, and the fact that he is an American who put on the uniform says something good about him.”
Gary Johnson said, “In my opinion, when you have booing this is not indicative of Republicans,” he said. “This is not the Republican Party that I belong to.”