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. thomas

    Oh , he and the rest of the GOP loosers didnt hear the booing , , they never listion !

    Sad people they are !

    September 23, 2011 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  2. John

    It was so loud I don't know how you didn't hear It. But It just another LIE from a Republican.

    September 23, 2011 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  3. Viet.Vet

    He either is hard of hearing or he is lying through his teeth, the way I saw it , it is the teeth part which to the repugs is right in line with the let him die or electrocute him crowd of the past waste of time fake debates.

    September 23, 2011 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  4. proudmemberofglobalzero

    A little too late. Watched the video myself....you waited until the booing stopped before attempting to answer the question. I do have my own question though....what kind of America do these candidates and their supporters want? This is NOT the country I grew up in. I was taught kindness and compassion.

    September 23, 2011 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  5. marty

    Rick 'didn't hear it" ??? Now the rest of the country sees Rick Santorum as Pennsylvanians have seen him for years and why they soundly booted him out of office and hope that he never returns.

    September 23, 2011 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  6. rdepontb

    I really wanted to believe that, Mr. Santorum. But it seems that at least Mr. Johnson heard it, was disgusted and owns up that he should have addressed it then and there. I do appreciate that you were caught up in listening to the question and formulating your reponse; I do hope your compatriots can own up one way or the other.

    September 23, 2011 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  7. Santorum is an idiot

    Give me a break, Santorum! You heard those people booing. I heard them sitting at home in my living room watching the debate. Are you that blinded by your hatred of gay people that you couldn't even stick up for that gay soldier or thank him for his service?

    September 23, 2011 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  8. Chad

    It was so obvious he heard it.

    September 23, 2011 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  9. dreucalypt

    Nobody in those audience condemned those people. There may have been only a couple of people booing. But a whole lot of them felt the same way. And nobody who opposed it had the guts to stop it. It isn't just those two idiots. It's the whole damned Republican party.

    September 23, 2011 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  10. Mike from MN

    These evil Yahweh-Jesus freaks!

    September 23, 2011 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  11. DZ

    If we are to thank him for his service, why wasn't that the first thing out of your mouth, Mr. Santorum? Why didn't you thank him at all? You can't have it both ways; either support all the troops or none of them.

    September 23, 2011 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  12. iTALIAN NONNO

    You heard the boos Santorum,.. and like the rest of the cowards on that stage , chose not to speak up,.. only now after the negative press do you show your false indignation. Politicians are a bunch of opportunistic parasites.

    September 23, 2011 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  13. ken

    He didn't hear the boos? So now it can be said the man is also a liar in addition to the Goggle results listed for his name, Santorum.

    September 23, 2011 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  14. Thomas

    Didn't hear it? Are you deaf?

    September 23, 2011 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  15. Dimmesdale

    What a coward. How couldn't he hear the heckling from the audience? I doubt his reason. I bet he didn't say anything because he was afraid what attacks would then be fired at him.

    September 23, 2011 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  16. me

    Its been settled. Get over it loosers.

    September 23, 2011 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  17. larry

    That's funny cause I heard them loud and clear, so either he's a lie or he's playing dumb.

    September 23, 2011 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  18. katiepea

    boy oh boy, the GOP is just all out embarrassing. low class folks, low class. i realize this doesn't represent everyone, but there needs to be a separation here. i grew up working in a steel mill.. the conservatives i worked with took pride in being undereducated and hating everyone that wasn't just like them. the GOP needs an image of progression and acceptance. for obvious reasons, but most importantly. these discussions of gays, lesbians. shots, god, these simply aren't issues that matter, who cares how someone else chooses to live their life. we're in 2 trillion dollar wars, americans are poor and dying, lets get real folks.

    September 23, 2011 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  19. Bill

    Rick, the video clearly shows you reacting to boos and waiting for them to stop before you answered the question (which you answered naively). DADT didn't work. People who never disclosed their orientation were kicked out because a fellow soldier "suspected" they might be gay and the said soldier was questioned (so much for don't ask) and then forced to disclose their orientation ( and so much don't tell). Obviously you didn't disagree with the boos. Man up and admit you were thrilled to hear the boos, you bigot.

    September 24, 2011 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  20. kat

    Mr. Santorum, you are a great American. Keep it up.

    September 24, 2011 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  21. The Elephant in The Room

    Being a soldier trumps everything in the GOP book, eh? Everything but being GAY.

    Santorum is trying to have it both ways – make the obligatory "pro-solider" generic remark while trying to ignore the gay part of the discussion.

    The only problem I can forsee is a gay man`s own "GAYDAR" needing calibration and him "hitting on" a straight man. In that case the straight guy may take offense and respond aggressively.

    If gay men stink to seeking known gay men in a "respectful" manner, their won`t be a problem. As far as re-instating DADT, that genie is out of the bottle and its not going back in.

    September 24, 2011 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  22. Jik

    Is Santorum deaf? Some of the audience heckled loudly and he said he couldn't hear? What a liar!

    September 24, 2011 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  23. Tanbiker

    Well, at least we all know what the word "santorum" means now, despite his efforts to suppress it. It's actually and good word and describes him very precisely.

    September 24, 2011 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  24. Born and raised in the USA

    Excuse me? Sure it's in poor taste, but when did those who oppose gay rights loose their rights to free speech?

    September 24, 2011 03:56 am at 3:56 am |
  25. d

    Ahh so santorum wants to ignore the whole issue and stuff people back ln the closet.... why deal with reality! i am sure the whole gop gang was on board with that. seems like equal rights take a back seat to them!

    September 24, 2011 04:07 am at 4:07 am |
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