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GOP Presidential Candidates React to Same-Sex Marriage and Gays in the Military: VIDEO


As the topic turned to social issues during last night's GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire, the opportunity came up for the GOP contenders to flex their conservative values on marriage and gays in the military.

Bachmann is asked by CNN's John King about her views on same-sex marriage and replies that children need a mother and father. When asked if she would repeal state laws legalizing same-sex marriage she gets a round of applause by saying that "it's not the role of a President to go into states and interfere with their state laws."

King then moves on to ask the candidates if they would support a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and if they would allow gays to serve openly in the military.

Watch and read a partial transcript, AFTER THE JUMP...


KING: On that point — on that point, to voters out there for whom this is an important issue, let’s try to quickly go through it. Let me start at this end, we’ll just go right through. I’ll describe it this way. Are you a George W. Bush Republican, meaning a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, or a Dick Cheney who, like I believe, the congresswoman just said, this should be made — this decision, same sex marriage, should be a state’s decision?

CAIN: State’s decision.


PAWLENTY: I support a constitutional amendment to define marriage between a man and woman. I was the co-author of the state — a law in Minnesota to define it and now we have courts jumping over this.

KING: OK. Let’s just go through this.

PAUL: The federal government shouldn’t be involved. I wouldn’t support an amendment. But let me suggest — one of the ways to solve this ongoing debate about marriage, look up in the dictionary. We know what marriage is all about. But then, get the government out of it. Why doesn’t it go to the church? And why doesn’t it to go to the individuals? I don’t think government should give us a license to get married. It should be in the church.

KING: Governor Romney, constitutional amendment or state decision?

ROMNEY: Constitutional.

KING: Mr. Speaker?

GINGRICH: Well, I helped author the Defense of Marriage Act which the Obama administration should be frankly protecting in court. I think if that fails, at that point, you have no choice except to (ph) constitutional amendment.

KING: We heard the congresswoman’s answer, Senator.

SANTORUM: Constitutional amendment. Look, the constitutional amendment includes the states. Three-quarters of the states have to — have to ratify it. So the states will be involved in this process. We should have one law in the country with respect to marriage. There needs to be consistency on something as foundational as what marriage is.

KING: Very quickly?

BACHMANN: John, I do support a constitutional amendment on — on marriage between a man and a woman, but I would not be going into the states to overturn their state law.

KING: All right, let me ask you another question. The Obama administration is in the process — and Leon Panetta, who’s the new defense secretary, will implement — essentially, the repeal of “don’t ask/don’t tell” so gays will be allowed to serve openly in the military. I want to ask each of you — and, again, if we can be quickly, because then we want to get to the voters question — if you were president — if you become president of the United States, now gays are allowed to serve openly in the military, would you leave that policy in place or would you try to change it, go back to “don’t ask/don’t tell,” or something else?

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. Our men and women have too many other things to be concerned about rather than have to deal with that as a distraction.

KING: Leave it in place if you inherit the new Obama administration policy or try to overturn it?

PAWLENTY: John, we’re a nation in two wars. I think we need to pay deference to our military commanders, particularly our combatant commanders, and in this case, I would take my cues from them as to how this affects the military going forward. I know they expressed concerns — many of the combatant commanders did — when this was originally repealed by the Obama administration.

KING: Congressman?

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 would (ph) have this major debate going on, it would be behavior that would count, not the person who belongs to which group.


KING: Leave it in place, what you inherit from the Obama administration or overturn it?

ROMNEY: Well, one, we ought to be talking about the economy and jobs. But given the fact you’re insistent, the — the answer is, I believe that “don’t ask/don’t tell” should have been kept in place until conflict was over.

KING: Mr. Speaker?

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.

KING: Congresswoman?

BACHMANN: I would — I would keep the “don’t ask/don’t tell” policy.

KING: So you would — whatever the Obama administration does now, you would go — try to go back? You’d try to reverse what they’re doing?

BACHMANN: I would, after, again, following much what the speaker just said, I would want to confer with our commanders-in-chief and with — also with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, because I’d want to know how it was being implemented and if it has — had had the detrimental effects that have been suggested that will come.

KING: All right. Last word on this issue, Senator?

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 — that punishes bad behavior.

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  1. Lol,the GOP LOVE you guys! Yep Obama is the enemy. Damn American gays are certifiable to even THINK the left are as bad as these guys. Certifiable. You reap what you sow.

    Chris Colfer had such a profound influence on Bachman after posing for pictures with her but hey, why does he care? He has enough money?

    Posted by: Rowan | Jun 14, 2011 7:19:43 AM

  2. Ron Paul is the only sane guy there.

    Posted by: suede | Jun 14, 2011 7:37:41 AM

  3. Ron Paul, remember voted to keep sodomy laws, says DOMA is a good thing as well. He speaks out of both sides of his mouth. I've heard him make that joke about "look it up in the dictionary." He stopped short this time. Normally he uses it to ridicule the idea of gay marriage since the dictionary doesn't mention same sex couples. Gov Gary Johnson takes a supportive stand for equal rights for gay people but CNN intentionally changed the rules for the debate to exclude him.

    Posted by: Storey Institute | Jun 14, 2011 7:48:30 AM

  4. Gays vote republican... WHY??? This party is a massive JOKE and a MESS!

    Posted by: Real | Jun 14, 2011 7:50:37 AM

  5. Ron Paul??? Paul believes the church should decide if you get married! He sounds just as looney as the rest of them. Libertarians, are conservatives who believe corporations should be the ruling power, just because they play this game of get government out of our personal lives doesn't mean they wouldn't mind seeing the majority of Americans starving in the streets as long as the free market was running strong. That's all those crazies care about.

    Posted by: The Iron Orchard | Jun 14, 2011 7:58:29 AM

  6. wow, the B-team. This was more like a reality show, Big Brother with politics. Embarrassing and idiotic.

    The GOP should be terrified. My guess, the Republican nominee will not be from this doofy group. The only thing missing from a few of them were tin foil hats.

    Embarrassing, simply embarrassing.

    Posted by: Bart | Jun 14, 2011 8:03:16 AM

  7. What a bunch of bigots. I wish they'd all crawl back under the rocks they came from. They don't even realize how full of hate they are, do they? And they will say ANYTHING to get elected.

    Posted by: Abel | Jun 14, 2011 8:07:44 AM

  8. I was a little encouraged by how quiet the audience was at these anti-gay answers. They instead applauded ideas like "states' rights" and "individual behavior". However, I know if this debate had been in South Carolina, they'd be hooting and hollering and letting out rebel yells at every anti-gay remark.

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | Jun 14, 2011 8:10:28 AM

  9. Michelle Bachman is an idiot. She wouldn't fight to overturn marriage in states where it is legal, but would fight for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage? What does she think that would do to state laws?

    Posted by: gaylib | Jun 14, 2011 8:21:06 AM

  10. And I'm still wondering how a gay Republican will actually be able to cast a vote for one of these "candidates?"

    Their defense is always, "We're not a one issue voter." Let me say this, when it comes to my civil rights, you damn right I'm a one issue voter.

    Maybe Obama hasn't done enough but he's also not going to overturn or oppose any law that has been passed in regards to equality.

    Posted by: Chance | Jun 14, 2011 8:22:32 AM

  11. man if one of these idiots gets elected they'll go back (repealing what Obama did) they'll go alllll the way back to when women couldn't vote and MANLY MEN whore tights and brought home the bacon...

    Posted by: x man | Jun 14, 2011 8:41:13 AM

  12. Ron Paul is NOT a libertarian. He's a cafeteria libertarian. Real libertarians support full equal rights for gay people even though they don't support discrimination laws to protect gays or anyone else. Libertarians believe that if the government is going to recognize straight relationships then they must equally recognize gay ones. Real libertarians don't pick and choose. For the real libertarian position on marriage equality check out the Cato Institute.

    Disclosure: I am not a libertarian myself as I believe it, like Communism, seems good on paper but doesn't work in the real world.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Jun 14, 2011 8:42:22 AM

  13. "Real libertarians support full equal rights for gay people even though they don't support discrimination laws to protect gays or anyone else."

    Translation: Real Liberatarians are clueless morons.

    Ron Paul -- and every other blinkered fool who claims "govenrment should get out of the marriage business" -- needs to be informed that marriage is a function of the state -- not the church.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jun 14, 2011 8:56:09 AM

  14. I support a constitutional amendment to ban heterosexual marriage. I am not kidding.

    I'm voting for Fred Karger.

    Posted by: Attmay | Jun 14, 2011 9:01:01 AM

  15. Attmay, what is it about Fred Karger that most appeals to you? The millions he made lobbying on behalf of Phillip Morris? The senior roles he played in the election campaigns of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush? The central role he played in the racist Willie Horton attacks on Michael Dukakis?

    Posted by: Patric | Jun 14, 2011 9:43:37 AM

  16. I love that Bachman would "confer with the commanders in chief". Well michelle, that would be a short conference call since you, as president, would be commander in chief. This was just a display of people agreeing that Obama is the bad guy, and who could say best that everything he's done should be repealed. No ideas of their own just, "Obama's the reason for all our troubles." lame.

    Posted by: Brad | Jun 14, 2011 9:43:48 AM

  17. Obama may have his flaws, but that video truly underscores the old adage, "Better the devil you know...."

    Posted by: Gregoire | Jun 14, 2011 10:42:01 AM

  18. www.spreadingsantorum.com

    Posted by: Todd | Jun 14, 2011 11:03:49 AM

  19. Each of these candidates would step on our backs to leap over the next one. None of them are worthy of a vote.

    We need to link back to this transcript time and again in the coming months as friends and family members try to tell us how "reasonable" one or another of these candidates sounds to them.

    Posted by: Gianpiero | Jun 14, 2011 11:38:35 AM

  20. @The Iron Orchard - I agree with Ron Paul that marriage should be kept in churches - but remember MANY churches will marry same sex couples. I think (read "my opinion") all "unions" should be "civil unions" and if you want to "sanctify" your union you go to a church to do it. No it won't be a catholic or LDS or baptist but you will find there are a lot of churches that support us. Civil unions should all have the same merit and equal benefits (i.e. tax breaks, etc.). If you want to call your Civil Union a marriage nothing is really stopping you just as many civilly unioned couples now call themselves "married." Again, just my opinion.

    Posted by: Craig | Jun 14, 2011 1:00:14 PM

  21. I'm just wondering what happened to the Newt that Candice Gingrich-Jones was talking about the other day as she claimed her brother's opposition to gay rights had "softened." I guess softened as granite compares to shale.

    Posted by: Craig | Jun 14, 2011 1:07:00 PM

  22. We all are Americans no matter if you are gay or not.....which means that we all have rights..........WE THE PEOPLE...........NOT WE THE STRAIGHT PEOPLE ETC.....

    Posted by: Walter Crittington III | Jun 14, 2011 1:11:36 PM

  23. Yes Obama needs to get this econony moving with JOBS, JOBS.......The Republicans are complaining but no one has presented a JOBS BILL..........All they want is to get this man out of the WHite House........PLease someone tell me what he did so wrong.......It took President Lincoln who was a REAL REpublican to knew that America is for ALL and not just a few..........WHAT happen to those kind of Republicans......

    Posted by: Walter Crittington III | Jun 14, 2011 1:15:47 PM

  24. Gays in the military protect this country just as the straight do......So what is the problem.......As long as they obey the rules and conduct themselves in a soldierly way, what the problem.........Remember GOD made us all and to hate gays is hating GODs work........He is the creator not the government...........

    Posted by: Walter Crittington III | Jun 14, 2011 1:20:02 PM

  25. King needed to have follow up questions to go after the ones that answered poorly.

    Posted by: anon | Jun 14, 2011 1:46:16 PM

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