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. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Of course,he didn't hear them. These wingnut debates are like the McCain/ Palin rallies in 2008 and the teabagger minority rants since. Their true colors are exposed, but they deny what we can clearly see and hear. Fear and hate

    September 24, 2011 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  2. NoTags

    The people that booed are very likely ones that didn't have the guts to serve in the military like Santorum.

    September 24, 2011 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  3. GonzoinHouston

    Careful there, Rick. Those people booing the gay soldier are the far-right anti-everything extremists that happen to be your base.

    September 24, 2011 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  4. etexfisherman48

    When it comes to vital social issues that threaten the judgment of God on a nation all compromise accomplishes is clouding the issue. It is either right or it is wrong and no in-between period. There is not a single biblical example where compromise is used in morality, not one. The traditions of men are what shoves what thus sayeth the word of God into the corner and unless Christians come front and center it will be our undoing.

    September 24, 2011 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  5. Ron

    Well, there you have it GAY REPUBLICANS. Electing one of these "people" (and republicans/tea-party) means you will have to go back into hiding! And, for what reason...to fight/die for your country. If you vote republican, enjoy your freedom while it lasts!!! What a great Commander in Chief these folks would make; no courage to take care of their men/women. No thanks. I like the current guy.

    September 24, 2011 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  6. Anonymous

    Rick Santorum: Condemn yourself. YOU are responsible for creating an environment in which gay American are reviled. YOU are responsible for creating an environment in which gay teens are bullied to the point of taking their own lives. You, who claim to be pro-life, have blood on your hands. And there will come a day when the god you claim to serve will say to you, "Depart from me, I never knew you."

    September 24, 2011 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  7. Namryam

    What do you expect from TP and their candidates? They're jars full of hate and anger like the Germans before WWII! Minorities are their scapegoats to justify what big losers they are! Mr. Santorum included... He can keep on whining about his definition on Google, but he called it onto himself and he confirmed it at the debate. He heard the booing, you can see it from his reaction! He waited for them to stop before he answered!

    September 24, 2011 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  8. StopTheMadness

    Two faced lying weasel.

    September 24, 2011 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  9. DJH

    I wish I had a nickle for every time one of these Republicans claim "I never heard it." Slurs galore at these Palin, Bachman, Romney, Perry, "do's"....even the debates, and both the candidates and the "organizer" claim..."I didn't hear it." That is so disingenuous. I guess he didn't hear it because he had his head up his a$$. Since he obviuosly has a glass plate installed in his stomach so he can see out (like the other I named), perhaps he should see about trying to get audio installed.

    September 24, 2011 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  10. Randy, San Francisco

    Too many social conservatives in the GOP/Tea Party are intolerant hypocrites and need to follow Jesus' advice to get out the "log in their own eyes" before condemning others so quickly.

    September 24, 2011 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  11. Ibrahim

    Not surprsing to me at all !! The party of xenophobia and bigotry and of intolerence !

    September 24, 2011 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  12. Damn U Fools

    A liar is a liar is a liar, is a liar, is a liar... a bigotted liar is reprehensible and not presidential.

    September 24, 2011 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  13. Steven Bennett

    Horse Feathers! Not only did Santorum hear the booing, he hesitated and paused until it stopped before he delivered his answer. Watch the video.

    September 24, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  14. Mike

    I watched the debates on Thursday and was shocked and heart broken when the live audience booed that soldier. I was ashamed for the republican party. It also makes me afraid for the future of the republican party. Their chances for electoral success decrease dramatically with incidents like that. Who cares if that guy is gay or straight. What difference deos it make? Maybe a party who's memebers react that way to one of our yoiung soldiers doesn't deserve a future.

    September 24, 2011 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  15. Maggie53

    There will always be people who do not agree with gay people in general because that's just life. I commend the soldier for coming out but everybody does not have to agree with his lfestyle. We cannot all agree on everything so there will always be some disagreement on issues but we just move on and do not dwell on it. Come on CNN, stop blowing up this incident to make it look like all republicans do not like gay people.

    September 24, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  16. Barbara

    Another disgusting performance by members of the audience viewing a GOP debate. The fact that not one candidate spoke up in support of the serviceman speaks volumes. Ignorance can be cured; stupid is forever!

    September 24, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  17. Mike

    Sorry Rick but your rhetoric is what fuels theis kind of reaction. Your constant anti-gay comments rile up those who are so opposed that the very mentionof the topic elicits boo's. Be a man and take responsibility for your actions and words.

    September 24, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  18. Mariee

    It's too late, you should have been paying attention. Someday you and your party will understand that our population has people that believe differently from you and most of the time it's about 50% or more. You can't include us we won't include you, I guess you didn't hear when they yelled out to let the person that doesn't have insurance die either. What a sorry party.

    September 24, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  19. AmericanSam

    Republicans. Always coming to the rescue after the moment has passed.

    September 24, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  20. Julia in Oregon

    Well, Mr. Santorum, you and your fellow "candidates for the Presidency" are liars, bigots, and/or have no patriotism to allow this to happen at your debate with no immediate response. Which of these do you want to be? Deaf isn't an option.

    September 24, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  21. Former Republican

    Too little, too late!

    September 24, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  22. ralph wiggum

    I guess the listening part of his campaign is over

    September 24, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  23. vic , nashville ,tn

    He couldn’t find better excuse

    September 24, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  24. Greg

    Rick you are a bald faced liar if you claim you did not hear the boos

    September 24, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  25. dreucalypt

    Every one of those Republican candidates who stood there silently while these bigots booed a gay soldier is a coward, and unworthy of being an American, never mind the President of the United States.

    September 24, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
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