The Ticket

Santorum clarifies ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ remarks: Gays currently serving would be ‘grandfathered’ in

Chris Moody, Yahoo News
The Ticket

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum clarified his answer to a question he fielded at Thursday's presidential debate from Stephen Hill, a gay solider serving in Iraq, who asked the candidates if they would reinstate the policy that restricts service members from discussing their sexual orientation. Santorum said he would allow gays currently serving to be "grandfathered" in if the policy is reinstated.

When the video with the soldier's question played in the debate hall, a few in the audience were heard booing him--though others in the audience told the booers to hush. In his reply, Santorum reaffirmed his call for putting the "don't ask, don't tell" policy back in place.

"I would say any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military," Santorum said. "The fact they are making a point to include it as a provision within the military that we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege to, and removing don't ask don't tell. I think tries to inject social policy into the military."

The Dept. of Defense officially stopped enforcing the Clinton-era policy earlier this week.

Santorum added that he wouldn't force people such as Hill to resign. That position would effectively mean that those who made their sexual orientation known from Sept. 2011 to the day Santorum would reinstate Don's Ask, Don't Tell could continue serving openly in the military. Santorum said that giving gays and lesbians the option to come out was "detrimental" to them because it would make sexual preference "an issue in the military."

"I'd grandfather in people who, because of the policy, you know, came out," Santorum said in an interview after the debate. "It's not their fault that we executed a policy that I think was detrimental to everyone, including them, in my opinion. Because sex, sexual preference should not be an issue in the military. And not something that is demonstrated in any shape or form within the military. It just shows how much our culture has changed that this is even a subject to be debated within the military."

Asked about the few members of the audience who booed Hill's question, Santorum said he couldn't hear their response from the stage.

"I didn't hear the boos," Santorum said. "So I can't make anything from something I didn't hear."

You can watch a video of Santorum's response below:

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