Wednesday, Dec. 07, 2011

A Gay Soldier Gets Booed

Rowdy crowds provided several memorable moments at the early Republican primary debates — Texas Governor Rick Perry's record 234 executions were a big applause line — but none were as striking as an Orlando audience's response to a question from an active-duty soldier who wanted to know where the candidates stood on the recently lifted ban on gays serving openly in the military. "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 in a pretaped message. "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 smattering of loud boos greeted the question and an awkward silence settled on the debate hall until Rick Santorum's argument for reinstating "Don't ask, don't tell" inspired a swell of applause from the crowd.