Friday, September 23, 2011

NSDC Statement on Booing of Gay Soldier at Last Night's GOP Debate

Andrew Davey, Secretary & Political Director 
Derek Washington, President 
(702) 576-4978/ 
We at Nevada Stonewall Democratic Caucus (NSDC) have been celebrating the end of the discriminatory and dangerous “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy that had been forcing LGBTQ American soldiers out of our military. This was harming our national security by preventing our military from simply recruiting the best and brightest that they needed to protect our country. Last fall, Senator Harry Reid fulfilled his promise to pass repeal. And this week, President Obama fulfilled his promise by implementing repeal of DADT.
Yet last night at the Fox News/Google Republican Presidential Debate in Orlando, Florida, America saw complete and utter disrespect for our military and our country when a gay soldier was booed by Florida Republicans in the audience for simply asking the Republican candidates if they were serious about reinstituting DADT.  This American soldier, Stephen Hill, is currently serving our country in Iraq. He has been busy defending our freedom, yet Florida Republicans refuse to allow him the freedom to serve his country, or even the freedom to ask politicians questions regarding military policy for that matter!
We at NSDC have to ask when this kind of behavior became acceptable. When is it ever acceptable to dishonor our country by booing an active duty soldier? And when is it ever acceptable to treat any soldier as a second-class citizen simply because of who he or she loves?
What made this embarrassing display of juvenile behavior even worse was when Former Pennsylvania Senator and current Republican Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum proceeded to disparage Stephen Hill, call for the return of DADT, and behave as if all that booing of Hill had never happened. And with the sole exceptions of Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman and Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, none of the other Republican Presidential Candidates condemned the homophobia and disrespect for a US soldier displayed by the audience at that debate. And when confronted after the debate, both Republican frontrunners Rick Perry and Mitt Romney had trouble mustering any courage to defend Hill and fully condemn what happened at that debate.
It is tragic that sound military and national security policy is being rejected by most Republican Presidential Candidates, and it is disgusting that Florida Republicans actually felt comfortable in dishonoring an American soldier serving our country so honorably abroad. This should really tell America all we need to know about these candidates and their willingness to actually do what is best for our country.
Nevada Stonewall Democratic Caucus was founded in 2005. Our membership consists of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Nevadans and our straight allies. We will lobby and educate members of the Nevada State Legislature to protect the rights and advocate on behalf of Nevadans who are routinely discriminated against because of their sexuality and gender identity.