Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, though asked directly, have so far refused to say whether they agree with General Peter Pace that homosexuality is immoral.
ABC News’ Jake Tapper caught up with Hillary on the issue:
I also asked her about the comments by General Peter Pace that homosexulity is “immoral”. Clinton has opposed the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, so I asked her if that law — signed by her husband in 1993 — was a mistake, and if homosexuality is “immoral.”
“General Pace has clarified his remarks, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is not working,” she said. “We are being deprived of thousands of patriotic men and women who want to serve their country who are bringing skills into the armed services that we desparately need, like translation skills. And one can argue whether it was a good idea when it was first implemented, but we know have evidence as to the fact that we are in a time of war — when we really need as many people as we can to recruit and retain in an all-volunteer army — we are turning people away or discharging them not because of what they’ve done but because of who they are.”
But is it immoral?
“Well I’m going to leave that to others to conclude,” she said. “I’m very proud of the gays and lesbians I know who perform work that is essential to our country, who want to serve their country and I want make sure they can.”
Although Clinton has met with gay groups twice this month (GMHC and HRC) and promised the HRC crowd a “partnership”, she refuses to say whether or not she believes homosexuality is immoral. In evading the question, is Clinton simply making a pathetic political dodge to avoid conflict with potential conservative supporters that do believe it is immoral? Or does it speak more (and I sincerely hope it doesn’t) about her underlying beliefs?
Looks like the “partnership” is off to a great start.
Luckily for Clinton, but not for LGBT folks, Barack Obama (also courting gay voters) appears to be opting for the same strategy.
From Newsday’s Spin Cycle:
Newsday caught Obama as he was leaving the firefighters convention and asked him three times if he thought homosexuality is immoral.
Answer 1: “I think traditionally the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman has restricted his public comments to military matters. That’s probably a good tradition to follow.”
Answer 2: “I think the question here is whether somebody is willing to sacrifice for their country, should they be able to if they’re doing all the things that should be done.”
Answer 3: Signed autograph, posed for snapshot, jumped athletically into town car.
It’s a pretty simple question, don’t you think?
John Edwards, so far, has been the most light on his feet on this issue. Asked by Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room whether he agrees with Pace’s comments, Edwards replied, “I don’t share that view.”
We certainly deserve better answers from our candidates, and should demand them.
UPDATE: Our commenter Patrick notes a statement released by Clinton last night, in which she borrows from the Edwards playbook, as noted above: “I disagree with what he said and do not share his view, plain and simple. It is inappropriate to inject such personal views into this public policy matter, especially at a time in which there are young men and women in such grave circumstances in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and in other dangerous places around the world.”
Will “I don’t share that view” be the new catchphrase for evasive maneuvering this election cycle? Looks like it so far.
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