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Santorum: DADT Repeal Injects Sexual Activity into Military

Santorum: DADT Repeal Injects Sexual Activity into Military

 

Republican presidential hopefuls were out in force in Orlando on Thursday night for a televised debate, but when a question was asked by a gay soldier who wanted to know whether the potential nominees would reinstate the now repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rule, not only was the soldier booed by some in the crowd, presidential hopeful Rick Santorum showed he clearly didn’t understand what both “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the repeal of the policy actually did.

Here’s the video via Think Progress:

Just to return to that last part:

Look, what we’re doing is playing social experimentation with our military right now and that’s tragic. I would just say that going forward, we would reinstitute that policy if Rick Santorum was president. Period. That policy would be reinstituted and as far as people in, I would not throw them out because that would be unfair to them because of the policy of this administration, but we would move forward in conformity to what was happening in the past, which is — sex is not an issue. It should not be an issue. Leave it alone. Keep it to yourself — whether your’re heterosexual or homosexual.

Firstly, sexuality is a part of the military because the military uses heterosexual marriage to confer benefits to its soldiers and their spouses. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” banned gay soldiers not from serving in the armed forces but from doing so openly and combined with DOMA brazenly subjected them to second-class treatment while doing the same job as heterosexual soldiers. The repeal is not about “special” rights but about fairness.

If Santorum would like soldiers, whether homosexual or heterosexual, to keep their sexuality “to themselves” he will therefore have to change more than just the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy given that heterosexuality is firmly ingrained in the military’s nomenclature, something that has not changed with the retiring of the open service ban. It is also worth repeating that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is a policy that several military leaders have called flawed and a policy that an overwhelming number of Americans wanted repealed.

Secondly, and despite what Santorum might say, he is advocating throwing LGB servicemembers out of the military because once you have come out there is no way you can then go back in the closet. Therefore a return to the days of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would mean discharging several hundred servicemembers who since Tuesday’s repeal have or will come out.

Third, Santorum is incorrect that a repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy introduces a sexual element into the military. With this he is failing to distinguish between sexual orientation and sexual activity — a failure that exposes his anti-gay bias.

I would in fact argue the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” creates a more neutral environment and stops sexuality being an issue in the military because it means that in terms of service the army no longer applies different rules to straight and gay servicemembers. That Santorum cannot see this shows either a worrying blindness to the facts or a willful choice to appeal to a far right demographic, neither of which suggests good presidential material.

Interestingly GOProud, a gay Republican group, has called on Santorum to apologize at once to the soldier Stephen Hill who asked that question. They make some good points in their press release:

(Washington, D.C.) – “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.

“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.

Santorum has yet to respond.

Related Reading:

LGBT Morning Mix: Statements on DADT’s Demise

Gay Soldier Comes Out to Dad to Mark DADT’s End (VIDEO)

Celebrate the Repeal of DADT Today (VIDEO)

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Photo from IowaPolitics.com via flickr creative commons

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62 comments

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9:02PM PDT on Sep 27, 2011

Where HAS he BEEN? Sex began in the Garden od Eden and hasn't stopped as far as I Know! SEX in the MILITARY? OH, RICK! In the 1960s THE NAVY made cruises to the Virgin Islands A LOT.I don't want to embarrass anyone but the quip was"that's WHY there aren't any virgins THERE ANY MORE!!!" That was supposed to be FUNNY! "DO you know why the Navy often transports Marines?--- Boy Toys!! HA HA HA " Next to drinking, the favorite military sport is sex.Maybe, if things have changed--SEX is NOW FIRST! Repeal DOMA! It's EQUAL RIGHTS!

3:46PM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

Like all of what the GOP has offered since Bush Jr. felt himself to be emperor, Santorum is an imbicile who did not listen to the question and ignores the actual issue of sexual activity. I guess he never served, because whether one is straight, Gay or Bi, there has always been sex in the military.
Just because no one talks about it does not mean that it does not exist. If he wants his way, he would also have to ban women from the military for fear that they and the men would have sex, too.

3:19PM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

Rick Santorum said "Sex is not an issue. It should not be an issue. Leave it alone. Keep it to yourself -- whether you're heterosexual or homosexual."
What part of that don't people understand??!! Why make a big problem out of this??!! Don't we have bigger issues to deal with such as our freedom as United States Citizens? Hello!!!
Cris L.

8:11AM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

It took two full terms for enough of us in PA to realize what a handsome and smiling schmuck
we had elected and finally booted him out. And now he wishes to inflict his nut ball ideas on the Nation. If he should win the nomination - with the assistance of the Tea Party sweethearts - I wonder which of the other 8 black suit/white shirt uniform robots (plus the pretty one in a dress) he might pick to run as VP?

7:54AM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

"....sex is not an issue. It should not be an issue. Leave it alone. Keep it to yourself — whether your’re heterosexual or homosexual."

Here's the thing: heteros have had bragging rights about their 'conquests', whether consensual or not, forever, and THAT has not been an issue, so why should gay young people not talk about their sex lives as their hetero counterparts are allowed to do?

A bigger issue around the subject of sex is dealing with the dysfunctions related to rape of our young women by their hetero brothers-in-arms, and how the military deals with the problem, from the rape itself to the necessary abortions because of these rapes being so unavailable...

12:39AM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

Thanks for the article.

6:03PM PDT on Sep 24, 2011

@Horace- tried to give you a star, but seem I already did that this week!

6:02PM PDT on Sep 24, 2011

Yes, Santorum has definitely earned his new definition from Dan Savage. This is about the dumbest thing I have ever heard. You get a bunch of testosterone addled males whipped up and fueled for fighting - you essentially pump up that testosterone, then have the nerve to say there is no sexuality in the military. Seriously clueless statement.

4:32PM PDT on Sep 24, 2011

First, he obviously has no idea about military, whatsoever.

NO, that is second. First, he is a fool.

Reminds me of one of the Soviet communist party statements: "There is no sex in USSR". Those individuals may be excused; they perhaps confused sex and pornography, or something.

But this one ... no, no matter how you look at it - he is just dumb.

3:14PM PDT on Sep 24, 2011

Santorum is an embarrassment to us native Pennsylvanians and to the United States. Shut up and go away.

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