a gay fundraiser on Saturday, President Barack Obama took his GOP
rivals to task over the booing of a gay soldier.
During last month's televised Fox
News/Google debate, presidential candidate Rick Santorum answered a
question submitted by Stephen Hill, a gay soldier serving in Iraq.
Referring to the recent repeal of
“Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” Hill, dressed in an Army t-shirt, asked
via a YouTube clip: “Do you intend to circumvent the progress that
has been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military?”
The audience booed Hill's question, but
cheered Santorum when he called DADT
repeal a “tragic social experiment” and vowed he would reinstate
the policy, if elected president.
“We don't believe in the kind of
smallness that says it's okay for a stage full of political leaders –
one of whom could end up being the President of the United States –
being silent when an American soldier is booed. We don't believe in
that. We don't believe in them being silent since. You want to be
commander-in-chief? You can start by standing up for the men and
women who wear the uniform of the United States, even when it's not
politically convenient,” Obama said.
Three of the candidates – former
Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman
and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson – condemned
the booing in comments offered after the debate.
The president also reiterated his
support for repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the law
that bans federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of
gay and lesbian couples.
“I believe the law runs counter to
the Constitution, and it's time for it to end once and for all,” he
told the crowd.
jokes he met with gay leader Lady Gaga at HRC fundraiser.)