Topics in the News: Gays in Military

Mike Huckabee on Homeland Security : Aug 6, 2015
Military is not social experiment: no transgendered soldiers

Q: The culture of the American military is definitely changing. Women are moving into combat roles. Don't Ask, Don't Tell has been dropped. And now Defense Secretary Ashton Carter recently directed the military to prepare for a moment when it is welcoming transgender persons to serve openly. As commander in chief, how would you handle that?

HUCKABEE: The military is not a social experiment. The purpose of the military is kill people and break things. It's not to transform the culture by trying out some ideas that some people think would make us a different country and more diverse. The purpose is to protect America. I'm not sure how paying for transgender surgery for soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines makes our country safer.

Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: Fox News/Facebook Top Ten First Tier debate transcript

Jeb Bush on Civil Rights : Dec 24, 2014
Don't-ask-don't-tell ok if it doesn't affect policy

Bush was less of a hard-liner when a gay Floridian hoping to win a job in Bush's administration gently asked if his sexual orientation would present a problem.

"On the other stuff, don't ask, don't tell is fine with me," Bush responded, appropriating the terminology Pres. Clinton used regarding gays in the military. "What you do in your private life is your business. If it crosses over into the public policy realm, then that is another matter. If you are comfortable with that, then we can proceed."

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: N.Y. Times 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Paul Ryan on Civil Rights : Aug 11, 2012
Keep DADT; no gay adoption; no need for gay hate crime laws

Paul Ryan has voted to ban same-sex marriage and adoption by gay couples, and he voted against repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" ban on gays serving openly in the military. Mitt Romney's pick matches his views on LGBT rights.

Ryan lined up with Romney on repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" when it came before Congress in 2011. Ryan voted against repealing DADT, and Romney was outspoken in his opposition to repeal. Since then, though, Romney has said reinstating DADT would be unnecessary.

Romney's record on the need for hate crimes laws is unclear. But when the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act passed through the House in 2009, Ryan voted against it.

One area where the two differ is on the Employment Non- Discrimination Act. Ryan voted in 2007 in favor of the law, which would have prohibited workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation but did not yet include gender identity. Romney was once also in favor of ENDA but changed his mind.

Click for Paul Ryan on other issues.   Source: Lucas Grindley in The Advocate, "VP Matches Mitt Romney"

Tim Kaine on Homeland Security : May 8, 2012
Repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell": let gays serve in military

Kaine said, "People like to ding the president on that word 'evolving' but the answer is, it's exactly what's happening in society." Kaine did support repealing the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" law prohibiting openly gay people from serving in the military. And he noted that public attitudes on the overall topic were shifting, so much so that if the gay marriage amendment were on the Virginia ballot again, the vote would most likely be a lot closer. (It passed 57 to 43 in 2006.)
Click for Tim Kaine on other issues.   Source: Washington Post on 2016 Veepstakes

Elizabeth Warren on Civil Rights : Dec 10, 2011
Repeal DOMA; repeal DADT; support ENDA

Warren spokesperson Kyle Sullivan says: "I can tell you from hearing Elizabeth talk about these issues that she supports marriage equality, supports repeal of DOMA, and agreed with repeal of DADT. She also supports ENDA and believes strongly that LGBT individuals should have their rights protected."
Click for Elizabeth Warren on other issues.   Source: 2012 Senate campaign website,

Rick Santorum on Homeland Security : Sep 22, 2011
Removing Don't-Ask injects social experiment into military

Q: Do you intend to circumvent the progress that's been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military?

SANTORUM: Any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military. And the fact that they're 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, and removing "don't-ask-don't-tell" I think tries to inject social policy into the military. And the military's job is to do one thing, and that is to defend our country. We need to give the military the ability to do so in a way that is most efficient at protecting our men and women in uniform. I believe this undermines that ability.

Q: So what would you do with gay soldiers?

SANTORUM: Look, what we're doing is playing social experimentation with our military right now. And that's tragic. Going forward, we would reinstitute that policy And as far as people who are in, I would not throw them out, because that would be unfair to them.

Click for Rick Santorum on other issues.   Source: 2011 GOP Google debate in Orlando FL

Rick Santorum on Civil Rights : Jun 13, 2011
Repeal Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell; punish behavior

Q: Now gays are allowed to serve openly in the military; would you leave that policy in place or would you try to change it back to "don't ask/don't tell"?

BACHMANN: I would keep the "don't ask/don't tell" policy.

CAIN: Now that they have changed it, I wouldn't create a distraction trying to turn it over as president.

PAUL: I would not work to overthrow it. We have to remember, rights don't come in groups. We shouldn't have gay rights. Rights come as individuals. If we have this major debate going on, it would be behavior that would count, not the person who belongs to which group.

SANTORUM: The job of the United States military is to protect and defend the people of this country. It is not for social experimentation. It should be repealed. And the commanders should have a system of discipline in place, as Ron Paul said, that punishes bad behavior.

Click for Rick Santorum on other issues.   Source: 2011 GOP primary debate in Manchester NH

Newt Gingrich on Civil Rights : Jun 13, 2011
Army & Marines wanted Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell

Q: Now gays are allowed to serve openly in the military; would you leave that policy in place or would you try to change it back to "don't ask/don't tell"?

CAIN: If I had my druthers, I never would have overturned "don't ask/don't tell" in the first place. Now that they have changed it, I wouldn't create a distraction trying to turn it over as president.

GINGRICH: Well, I think it's very powerful that both the Army and the Marines overwhelmingly opposed changing it, that their recommendation was against changing it. And if as president--I've met with them and they said, you know, it isn't working, it is dangerous, it's disrupting unit morale, and we should go back, I would listen to the commanders whose lives are at risk about the young men and women that they are, in fact, trying to protect.

BACHMANN: I would keep the "don't ask/don't tell" policy.

Click for Newt Gingrich on other issues.   Source: 2011 GOP primary debate in Manchester NH

Rand Paul on Homeland Security : Sep 23, 2010
Military should decide don't-ask-don't-tell policy

Democratic US Senate nominee Jack Conway says gays should be allowed to serve openly in the US military, while his Republican rival, Rand Paul, says the military should decide the issue. Kentucky's US Senate candidates were asked their opinions on the so-called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the wake of this week's unsuccessful effort by Democrats in the US Senate to repeal it.

When Conway was asked whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military, he said "yes," without elaborating.

Paul's campaign spokesman said in an e-mail without elaboration, "Dr. Paul believes this is a matter that should be decided by the leadership of the military, not through political posturing."

Republicans in the US Senate this week stopped a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" when Democrats attached an amendment seeking the repeal to a defense bill. Republicans said a Pentagon study on the impact of ending the policy should be completed before there is any move toward repeal.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: Lexington Herald-Leader on 2010 Kentucky Senate debate

Carly Fiorina on Civil Rights : Sep 2, 2010
No same-sex marriage; yes civil unions; repeal DADT

Fiorina said she opposes same-sex marriage, and supports civil unions and the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." But she declined to answer when asked if the government should recognize civil unions for purposes such as Social Security benefits.

Boxer said homosexual couples would gain full equality only when same-sex marriage was recognized. "The only way to get the rights that married couples have is to go for marriage equality," she said. "I believe people are coming around to see it."

Click for Carly Fiorina on other issues.   Source: Los Angeles Times coverage of 2010 CA Senate Debate

Barack Obama on Homeland Security : Apr 13, 2010
OpEd: Promised to close Guantanamo but it's still open

You may disagree with many of these promises. You're probably glad they failed. But don't let that stop you from using them to defeat Obama.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Take Back America, by Dick Morris, p.262

Marco Rubio on Homeland Security : Feb 4, 2010
No evidence to change policy of don't ask, don't tell

U.S. Senate rivals Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio both said today they oppose abolishing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy affecting gays and lesbians in the military. The 1993 policy was intended to be a political compromise that let gay men and women serve so long as they stayed silent about their sexuality. But President Barack Obama and top military leaders say it is time to end the discrimination all together.

"We are a nation at war. The governor believes the current policy has worked, and there is no need to make changes," a Crist campaign spokeswoman said.

"Marco Rubio supports the current policy and doesn't see any evidence it needs to be changed," a campaign spokesman said.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: St. Petersburg Times' coverage of 2010 Florida Senate debate

Mitt Romney on Civil Rights : Feb 5, 2008
GovWatch: 1994: Favored gays serving openly in military

Top Romney Flip Flops: #2. Gay Rights:

In a 1994 letter to the Log Cabin Republicans, who advocate gay rights, Romney said he was in favor of ďgays and lesbians being able to serve openly and honestlyĒ in the military. He now says it would be a mistake to interfere with the ďdonít ask, donít tell policy.Ē

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: GovWatch on 2008 campaign: ďTop Ten Flip-FlopsĒ

Barack Obama on Homeland Security : Aug 26, 2007
Repeal Donít-Ask-Donít-Tell

Obama believes we need to repeal the ďdonít ask, donít tellĒ policy in consultation with military commanders. The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Obama will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure we accomplish our national defense goals.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2008 Presidential campaign website, ďFlyersĒ

Joe Biden on Homeland Security : Aug 9, 2007
Donít Ask Donít Tell is antiquated & unworkable

Q: Would you support a repeal of the ďDonít Ask, Donít TellĒ policy which would allow gay, lesbian, and bisexual soldiers the right to serve openly in the military?

A: Sen. Biden supports ending the Donít Ask, Donít Tell policy. It is antiquated and unworkable. According to recent polls, 3/4 of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan said that they had no problem serving with openly gay people. 24 of the nations serving alongside US forces in Iraq permit open service which has had no negative impact on these forces or the morale of our brave soldiers. Finally, the US does not have enough troops to fulfill our current missions--it is ridiculous to turn away brave and patriotic Americans who volunteer to serve solely because of their sexual orientation--especially in light of the Defense Departmentís recent decision to extend tours of duty in Iraq. Sen. Biden believes that we should treat everyone serving in the military by the same standards regardless of orientation.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: 2007 HRC/LOGO debate--written questionnaire

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : Aug 9, 2007
Wants to repeal donít-ask-donít-tell, but not until 2009

Q: Youíve said that you would like to repeal ďDonít ask, donít tell.Ē Now, since 2003, youíve sat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, the committee that would decide this issue. Why havenít you introduced legislation to repeal this policy?

A: The very simple answer is we didnít have a chance with the Republican Congress and George Bush as president. And I want to get it done when Iím president. I want to do it and have it be successful. I donít want to try, in a Republican Congress, with a very negative president, and have it defeated. Weíre talking, now that we have a Democratic Congress, about what steps we can take to sort of lay the groundwork so that when we do have a change in the White House, we will be able to move on that. But I just want to sort of put it into a broader context, because itís one of my highest priorities. I came out against donít-ask-donít-tell in 1999. It was a transitional action that was taken back at the beginning of my husbandís administration.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2007 HRC/LOGO debate on gay issues

Mitt Romney on Civil Rights : Jun 3, 2007
Donít ask, donít tell sounds silly, but itís effective

Q: In 1994 you were quoted as saying that you advocated gays being able to serve openly and honestly in our nationís military. Do you still feel that way?

ROMNEY: No, actually, when I first heard of the ďDonít ask, donít tellĒ policy, I thought it sounded awfully silly. I didnít think that would be very effective. And I turned out to be wrong. Itís been the policy now in the military for what, 10, 15 years, and it seems to be working. This is not the time to put in place a major change, a social experiment, in the middle of a war going on. I wouldnít change it at this point. We can look at down the road. But it does seem to me that we have much bigger issues as a nation we ought to be talking about than that policy right now.

McCAIN: I think it would be a terrific mistake to even reopen the issue. The policy is working. And I am convinced that thatís the way we can maintain this greatest military. Letís not tamper with them.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College

Hillary Clinton on Civil Rights : Jun 3, 2007
Donít ask donít tell was an important transition step

Donít ask donít tell was an important first step, But talking about this as though there is a reality out there that a president or a Congress can change with the snap with a finger does a grave disservice to the American people. We have a political process. Thereís checks and balances, the Congress was adamantly opposed at the time to letting gays and lesbians serve openly. ďDonít ask, donít tellĒ was the compromised policy.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2007 Dem. debate at Saint Anselm College

Mike Huckabee on Civil Rights : Jun 3, 2007
Address gay behavior if problematic, not gay attitudes

Q: Most of our closest allies, including Great Britain and Israel, allow gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military. Is it time to end ďDonít ask, donít tellĒ policy and allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the US military?

PAUL: I think the current policy is a decent policy. If there is homosexual behavior in the military that is disruptive, it should be dealt with. But if thereís heterosexual sexual behavior that is disruptive, it should be dealt with. So it isnít the issue of homosexuality.

HUCKABEE: Itís already covered by the Uniform Code of Military Conduct. I think thatís what Congressman Paul was saying. Itís about conduct, itís not about attitude. You donít punish people for their attitudes. You punish them if their behavior creates a problem.

Q: So you wouldnít change existing policy.?

HUCKABEE: I donít think that I would. I think itís already covered by the existing policy that we do have, in fact.

Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College

Barack Obama on Civil Rights : Mar 27, 2007
Pass ENDA and expand hate crime legislation

We must be careful to keep our eyes on the prize--equal rights for every American. We must continue to fight for the Employment Non Discrimination Act. We must expand hate crime legislation and be vigilant about how these laws are enforced--.continue to expand adoption rights to make them consistent --and we must repeal the ďDonít ask, donít tellí military policy.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: In His Own Words, edited by Lisa Rogak, p. 44

Sarah Palin on Immigration : Sep 5, 2006
Took no action on Alaskaís ďsanctuary citiesĒ

Lou Dobbs notes that at least two of Alaskaís cities have been officially designated as sanctuary cities: ďAn August 14, 2006 report produced by the Congressional Research Service listed 31 cities and counties that have Ďdonít ask, donít tellí sanctuary policies in place. They [include] Anchorage, Alaska [and] Fairbanks, Alaska. Alaska and Oregon both have state-wide policies that forbid state agencies from using resources to enforce federal immigration law.Ē

Apparently, this is by design from the highest levels. In fact, a resolution to that effect was passed in the Alaska state legislature in 2003 (before Palinís election): ď[Alaska] House Joint Resolution 22--May 2003: Establishes that state agencies and instrumentalities may not use state resources or institutions for the enforcement of federal immigration laws, which are the responsibility of the federal government.Ē

Itís not clear whether Gov. Palin has ever weighed in, pro or con, on Alaskaís sanctuary policies.

Click for Sarah Palin on other issues.   Source: Lou Dobbs reported on

Hillary Clinton on Civil Rights : Nov 1, 2003
Gay soldiers need to shoot straight, not be straight

One of Billís first challenges as commander in chief became the promise he made during the campaign to let gays and lesbians serve in the military as long as their sexual orientation did not in any way compromise their performance or unit cohesion. I agreed with the commonsense proposition that the code of military conduct should be enforced strictly against behavior, not sexual orientation.

Bill knew the issue was a political loser, but it galled him that he couldnít persuade the Joint Chiefs of Staff to align the reality-that gays and lesbians have served, are serving, and will always serve-with an appropriate change in policy that enforced common behavior standards for all. Bill agreed to a compromise: the ďDonít Ask, Donítí TellĒ policy. It has not worked well.

I just wish the opposition would listen to Barry Goldwater, an icon of the American Right, who said, ďYou donít need to be straight to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight.Ē

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Living History, by Hillary Rodham Clinton, p.241-2

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