Santorum: ‘I condemn’ booing of gay soldier, didn’t hear it
September 23rd, 2011
08:14 PM ET
3 years ago

Santorum: ‘I condemn’ booing of gay soldier, didn’t hear it

(CNN) - White House hopeful Rick Santorum said he didn't hear boos from the audience when a gay soldier asked a question via YouTube at Thursday night's GOP presidential debate.

"I condemn the people who booed that gay soldier," Santorum said on Fox News Friday. "Certainly had I heard them, I would have said, 'Don't do that. This man is serving our country and we are to thank him for his service’."

At the debate, sponsored by Fox News and Google, the soldier asked the candidates if they had plans to fight the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which went into effect Tuesday.

"In 2010, when I was deployed to Iraq, I had to lie about who I was because I'm a gay soldier and I didn't want to lose my job," said Stephen Hill. "My question is, under one of your presidencies, do you intend to circumvent the progress that's been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military?"

A few jeers from the crowd of thousands could be heard as the video finished.

In response to the question, Santorum, an unapologetic social conservative, said any type of sexual activity has no place in the military and argued that the policy be reinstituted.

"Sex is not an issue. It should not be an issue," Santorum said. "Leave it alone, keep it - keep it to yourself, whether you're a heterosexual or a homosexual."

The exchange at the debate drew criticism Friday from advocates of the DADT repeal, including the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

“No service member defending our freedoms in Iraq should be booed for expressing his or her views as an individual," said SLDN director Aubrey Sarvis in a statement. "I regret that this brave patriot was not defended last night in Orlando and that no candidate spoke up to say ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal has been settled by Congress and our nation’s senior military leaders."

– CNN's Adam Levine contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Don't Ask Don't Tell • Rick Santorum
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. Clwyd

    Santorum, You and your party need to admit that the Tea party is a cancer that needs to be cut out and destroyed. They are raisit right wing loony tune greedy thugs that are pulling down your party and will try to do the same to America!

    September 23, 2011 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  2. RonPaul2012

    I'm glad DADT is gone. Leave em' alone, gays are people just like anyone else. We all should be treated equally, we all have an equal right to our lives, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness! Government should never discriminate nor give preferential treatment to ANY group. We don't get our rights because someone classified us into a group, we get them naturally they are inherently ours as humans.

    September 23, 2011 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  3. KP

    Helen Keller would have heard the booing from that crowd. At least he's got the lying part down pat – this combined with his hatred for gays makes him the perfect GOP candidate.

    September 23, 2011 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  4. Dean I

    He would be our first deaf president.

    September 23, 2011 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  5. Donald in CA

    Santorum is a lier. To be a republican canidate you have to be a tea party hater. These folks have shame or bottom. Lord help us if one of these haters become president.

    September 23, 2011 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  6. Light In The Black

    I watched the video, and i could hear the boos very well.
    Santorum is freaking lieing.
    Toss this piece of crap on the pile of bad politicians
    GOP LIARS !!!!

    September 23, 2011 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  7. Jake

    Just remember Mr. Santorum, it's people like you who have created an environment where people who follow you think it is okay to boo any gay person. YOU SET THE TONE! And you and others in your party and churches are responsible for behavior like this.

    September 23, 2011 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  8. AK_steve

    The tea party boo's gays, celebrates the number of people Perry has executed (regardless of innocence) and chants "let him die" when asked if a man without insurance should receive medical care.

    I have never seen a more heartless, arrogant, self-righteous and hateful political movement ever. Oh wait... there was that Nazi thing awhile back ago.

    The Tea Party is the end of America. Period.

    September 23, 2011 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  9. mike

    What's with Santorum? I thought he was a Conservative. That soldier ought to have the shame to hide his face.

    September 23, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  10. Angy

    Yeah right. the gop thugs are a bunch of losers!

    September 23, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  11. Herbie Walker

    BS. Santorum heard them: he paused at the start of his response to give the boos time to swell.

    Pretty frothy Ricky!

    September 23, 2011 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  12. Nicki

    "I condemn the people who booed that gay soldier," Santorum said on Fox News Friday. "Certainly had I heard them, I would have said, 'Don't do that. This man is serving our country and we are to thank him for his service’."

    So why didn't you thank him? It was your question to answer. You had the opportunity. What stopped you?

    September 23, 2011 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  13. Tea Party Downgrade

    The GOTP, the party of intolerance, bigotry and greed.
    We need to get these yahoos out of office come November.

    September 23, 2011 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  14. CNN Get It Right

    It was a lot more than "a few jeers"; it was rather loud and interrupted Santorum's response. Run the video again. It's a disgrace how these people treated the gay soldier, and exactly why the TP is going to fade away.

    September 23, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  15. Dennis

    Of course he didn't hear the boos, just like he can't hear the majority of the American people when they say they want a fair tax system. He can only hear the money then.

    September 23, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  16. Indy

    Republicans rarely hear the will of the people or "hang em chants" and claim victim status when they put crosshairs on democrats districts. They dont hear the ovewhelming majority when they say it is time to end the tax holiday for the wealthy, they dont hear the best economists in the world when they have proven that personal tax breaks for the wealthy does not create jobs, they just dont hear the people period.

    September 23, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  17. John

    Too bad the first words out of this mouth were a direct acknowledgement of one of the toothless wonders booing in the crowd. No wonder Ron Paul gets more donations from the military than all the other candidates combined; the rest are all establishment shills and Dick Cheney clones. Bring these people home and send Santorum on his way.

    September 23, 2011 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  18. lgny

    Nice try, but why did you not hear it when millions of others did.

    September 23, 2011 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  19. MaryM

    How in hell could he not hear it. I whole world did

    September 23, 2011 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  20. encore

    you lying all of you coward punks heard it including that man backmon that"s why none of you will never be potus period cowards

    September 23, 2011 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  21. Sara DeVine

    The audience booing was drowned out by sound of vomiting in his own head. Stupid jerk. I wish he would enlist in the military and go fight one of the many wars he wants to start.

    Ron Paul!

    September 23, 2011 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  22. CA Dream USA

    YOU LIE..All of America heard the BOOS......How do you expect to lead all Americans ..When the republican party can't show true leadership during a debate....Too late to speak up now..Last night was to time to take a stand for our men and woman soldiers ricking their lives...First Let Him Die..Now this.....Neither times did one republican take a stand...

    September 23, 2011 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  23. RINO Bil

    ... so Santorum grew a pair AFTER the fact. How conventient. Coulda, shoulda, wouldas are for bush leaguers.

    September 23, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  24. Redleg

    When will Santorum tell us why he didn't serve? Is his law school nickname the truth?

    September 23, 2011 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  25. A.J.

    I don't believe for one second that he didn't hear the "boos" and I don't believe that he would have condemned them! None of the other candidates did. I'm sure that witch Bachmann was smiling. All of these candidates (except for Johnson) are haters! NEVER, I mean NEVER are they gonna get in the White House! Obama 2012.

    September 23, 2011 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
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