2012 Election | Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Iraq | Military | Rick Santorum

Interview With Capt. Stephen Hill, Heckled Gay Soldier

Y'all know Army Captain Stephen Hill as the gay soldier booed by a roomful of patriotic, freedom-loving, troops-worshipping Republicans at the Orlando presidential debate in September. (And if you don't know Capt. Hill at all, see the video AFTER THE JUMP.) Via a pre-recorded video Hill made while deployed in Iraq, Hill asked the candidates:

In 2010 when I was deployed to Iraw, I had to lie about who I was because I'm a gay soldier, and I didn't want to lose my job. My question is: Under one of your presidencies, do you intend to circumvent the progress that's been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military?

The booing was immediate and loud. Rick Santorum, who'd been selected by the FOX news moderators to answer the question, later claimed not to hear the heckling. In his response, Santorum made the usual straw man arguments, acting like the repeal of DADT gave soldiers license to practice sodomy in the trenches. "I would say any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military," etc., blah blah blah, to rapturous applause.

Yesterday afternoon, the AP published an interview in which Hill "reflected publicly for the first time on his reasons for submitting the pre-recorded question for the Sept. 22 debate, as well as his reaction to the heckles heard around the world; the answer that former Sen. Rick Santorum gave to thunderous applause; and the outrage expressed on his behalf by, among others, his commander in chief."

"When the actual booing occurred, my gut dropped out, because my first inclination was, did I just do something wrong?" he said. "The answer, obviously, wasn't very supportive of gay people, and there was a lot of fear of how the Army would take the question."

He did not have to wait long to find out. At breakfast later that morning, the segment was playing on the chow hall television. Hill immediately tracked down his commander, who told him she had no problem with what he'd done but that she would need to run it up the chain of command. She later relayed the response.

"She said, 'What the military's most concerned with is that you are OK, because it's a lot of pressure on you and we want to make sure if there is anything we can do to help,'" he recalled.

President Barack Obama, about a week later, chided the Republican contenders for staying silent when several people booed an American soldier.

Read the rest here.


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  1. Heartfelt thanks to Captain Hill for his service to our country and for his willingness to expose his private life for the sake of LGBT soldiers everywhere. I am glad he was able to put the cowardly response by Santorum and the shameful lack of response from other candidates in perspective. He needs to know that the boos and catcalls are not in any way a reflection of the way the 99-percent feel about him and his service. I wish him continued goodwill in his new mission for recognition of his partner by the military.

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | Nov 19, 2011 10:36:00 AM

  2. Cpt Hill is wiser than those in the auditorium together. Never mind them. Be proud of who and what you are.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Nov 19, 2011 10:41:06 AM

  3. y'all?!?! make it stop!!

    Posted by: Qutt | Nov 19, 2011 10:52:18 AM

  4. Qutt@ Ditto. Plus quit the verbose commentary by 50%. Brevity is the soul of wit.

    Posted by: uffda | Nov 19, 2011 11:06:28 AM

  5. What's that expression..."Commander-in-Chief" heal thyself"? No, repeal alone was not enough when it came with new policies to OFFICIALLY treat gays IN the military unequally. And, no, DOMA is not the reason behind some of the unequal treatment of gay military couples. SLDN, the ACLU, and countless active duty and discharged gays are still waiting on you to order those inequities stop.

    Or is mistreatment of gay troops only bad when predictably repulsive Repugs do it?

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Nov 19, 2011 11:39:15 AM

  6. Homosexuals (LGBT) can't be the same and can't be equal because God did not create men to be with men and women to be with women. He created man and woman to be together. There are many verses that deal directly with homosexuality: Lev. 18:22, 20:13; Rom. 1:25-27; I Cor. 6:9-10; I Tim. 1:9-11; and Jude 1:7. If you don't have a Bible, God calls this practice an abomination and those who practice it will spend eternity in hell. God also gives His opinion of it in Deut. 23:17-18; I Kings 14:22, 24; and Gen. 19.

    God also has something to say about those people who agree with this practice even though they, themselves, don't do it. In Romans 1:32, He says that they will receive the same fate as homosexuals.

    It is a sad day for this nation and for those who have been deceived by Satan into believing that they were actually born this way. Think about it. Would God create people as homosexuals and then condemn them to hell for it?

    Although God hates the sin, He loves the sinner, regardless of what sin we commit. That is why He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for us. Do not be fooled. That these things are coming to pass is because the time is near when God will be closing the curtains on time itself. Please repent of your sins and turn your lives over to Him (read Rom. 3:23; 6:23; Jn. 3:3). For those of you who are caught up in homosexuality, there is an organization called "Exodus International." It will help you through the love and truth of Jesus Christ. I'll be praying for you.

    Posted by: Barbara | Nov 19, 2011 1:26:16 PM

  7. Gosh, Barbara. Now that youve put it that way -- youre right! Weve been lying to ourselves this whole time! Why hasnt anybody taken the time to explain the Biblical perspective on homosexuality to us before? Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

    Posted by: Brandon K. Thorp | Nov 19, 2011 1:31:19 PM

  8. Barbara you're delusional. Exodus doesn't change people straight anymore than a Honda can change into a Mercedes. You have been so misguided I seriously don't know where to begin. You take every bible verse out of context and cannot fathom the idea that gay people can be born gay because it doesn't fit into your neat little world.

    I thank the good Lord everyday for showing me that he is still speaking and revealing himself to us.

    The Bible is NOT the final authority.

    Posted by: Ken R | Nov 19, 2011 1:57:31 PM

  9. Barbara - your analysis of the biblical reasons for why homosexuality or any other sexuality which is not heterosexual is quite fantastic.
    Now how about you analyze the other 21 other major religions of the world? And while you are at it, explain why YOUR religion, out of all these religions, is the "right" religion that we must follow? Also, include why we should use religion, when there is such heated controversy on that already, in order to dictate the lives of the LGBTQ community, and the equality they deserve.
    We are all human. We all deserve equality, freedom, and the rights America is suppose to give to Americans, unless one loses those rights (you know, like breaking the law? Murder? Theft?)
    We, as Americans, have gotten over many silly characteristics that we thought gave us the right to withhold equality from others. Difference in color no longer dictates who has equality or freedom. Being a male or a female no longer dictates who gets equality. And why should it? Color, gender, AND sexuality should not hold sway on the well deserved equality all Americans deserve.
    &Fun Fact: Many animals, such as birds and many other species, have same-sex intercourse and / or long term relationships. Care to tie in animals and their sexuality into your bible? I wasn't aware that animals were sinners. Then again, I wasn't aware that someone would take the time to be ignorant enough to write a biblical analysis.

    Posted by: Sam | Nov 19, 2011 2:16:40 PM

  10. Poor Barbara. She's having a sad day.

    Babs, listen, honey:

    There are examples of same-sex attractions all throughout nature. Yup, born this way. And I know God does not condemns us to hell, that's an idea somebody a long time ago had, that wrote it down and I can guarantee you they were not very evolved as they were writing laws for a tribe that existed 2000 years ago. Lots of superstitions and odd things back then, read the rest of Leviticus for a mind-blowing experience.

    Love, Barbara, just try to love instead of forcing what YOU believe down everyone's throat. Now, go on out there and love like a good girl....

    Posted by: johnny | Nov 19, 2011 2:28:09 PM

  11. Barb, are you lost?

    As the saying goes... If you won't stand behind our soldiers, feel free to stand in front of them. Captain Hill and all of the other gay soldiers are worth thousands of your kind.

    Instead of trolling a website with homosexual tendencies, wouldn't your time be better spent feeding the homeless?

    Posted by: Laura | Nov 19, 2011 2:43:40 PM

  12. Barbara is one you should all ignore. She's just proved to all of us that she doesn't know what she's talking about.

    The minute any "Christian" cites levitical law they prove that they dont' know anythign about their own supposed "faith" - Christ's sacrifice, theologically speaking, saved us all from Levitical law. that's why they're ALL ignored by modern day Christians.

    Barbara, by citing levitical law, has just proven that she believes that Christ failed in His mission on the cross. That's what a citation of levical law means - that Christ failed, He did not accomplish His destiny or work.
    So thanks Barbara for proving that you think Christ's sacrifice was a failure.

    ten bucks says Barbara has a nephew or two whom she's helping drive to suicide.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Nov 19, 2011 2:46:01 PM

  13. the amazing thing is that not only did NONE of the other candidates respond to the booing, they didn't even have the intellectual integrity to point out to Santorum, and the bigots at home, that ending DADT has nothing do nothing whatsoever to do with sexual conduct.

    this, you Gay Republicans, is why it's so obvious that you're all a bunch of insecure wimpy cowards who are still sucking up to the right-wing parents who are ashamed of you. You love the abuse, and quite frankly, you deserve the mediocre lives that you lead. Grow up, be intellectually honest, and realize that you're continued support of the GOP doesn't harm us "liberal gays" - it only proves us right.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Nov 19, 2011 2:58:06 PM

  14. Little kiwi,

    They are not ALL ignored by modern day christians. The 'man shall not lay with man as he does with woman' one is still viewed by these (supposed) christians as the final word.

    Personally, I view that one as god's dislike of bisexuality. I think he's saying pick one and stick with it.

    Posted by: Laura | Nov 19, 2011 3:08:43 PM

  15. that's the thing, Laura - they can't be selective in the way that they choose to be. It's like how the white folks of hundreds of years ago had their slaves build them churches first, so they could prove to themselves that they're still "Christians". they weren't then, they aren't now.

    levitical laws were about one thing and one thing only - keeping tribal numbers high. "sins" about diet dictated to keep people from eating bad food and DYING. and on, and on.

    let's just hope Barbara here never breeds.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Nov 19, 2011 3:19:36 PM

  16. "Moreover, I do not permit a woman to teach a man or to usurp his authority. Instead, she is to remain silent."
    -1 Timothy 2:12

    Wow, Barbara, a lot of those ancient people certainly did have a lot of strange ideas, didn't they? Fortunately, you have the freedom of speech to post what you did because modern, enlightened people DON'T take random sentences quoted by random characters in Bible stories as if they were God's ideas for how everyone should behave. You might want to tale a look at what Jesus talked about, too. He was much more accepting than some of the Bible characters your quotes came from.

    Posted by: Gregv | Nov 19, 2011 4:00:29 PM

  17. Best of luck to Captain Hill and his husband on their lawsuit. "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice". How true indeed.

    Posted by: Howard | Nov 19, 2011 4:49:37 PM

  18. booed by a "roomful" of people. oh please, it was 2-3 people in an entire auditorium. stay out of the victim mode for once.

    this blog is becoming insufferable with this political crap. keep it to pictures of hot guys.

    Posted by: Jason | Nov 19, 2011 4:58:44 PM

  19. @LITTLE KIWI - very accurately and well put on the theology. Thank you.

    @BARBARA and LAURA - I'm still trying to figure out why you two chicks are trolling around on a gay blog. Are you checking to see if your sons post comments on here? They probably do. And we probably date them behind your backs. Oh, and they're REALLY good too.

    @GREGV - and you win comment of the day with the Timothy passage.

    @Captain Hill - THANK YOU for what you do for us. There are very many of us who are truly grateful for your selfless sacrifice on our behalf.

    Posted by: Bobby | Nov 19, 2011 6:18:48 PM

  20. @Jason- Sound doesn't lie. There were far more than just 2-3 people booing; that was stadium sized booing. That booing is the sentiment expressed by the Tea Party and Republicans in regards to gays serving in the military, so spare the excuses.

    @Barbara- You have a lot of nerve to troll around touting Exodus International and speaking like you speak for a god of any kind. In your religion, isn't pride the deadliest sin of all? Oh, that's right; that's the sin that gets swept under the rug. After all, that would pretty much cover all of you. I have no use of prayers from someone like you, so spare me the condescending drivel.

    Posted by: Matt | Nov 19, 2011 7:26:30 PM

  21. They did not boo when he said he was a gay soldier. They booed at the way he phrased his question. Again, they were not booing his sexuality. Make the distinction, words matter.

    Posted by: ted | Nov 19, 2011 11:47:22 PM

  22. Brandon, I haven't a problem with your reporting generally, but suggestion: I find using "blah blah blah" a bit improfessional, myself. I think "etc." would have been fine.

    Posted by: Yuki | Nov 20, 2011 1:15:12 AM

  23. Everyone go easy on Barbra! She probably just got back from one of those excursions through the wilderness that she takes every 28 days and is understandably testy.

    After all, you would be snippy to if the Bible said that you deserved to be stoned to death for showing your face on one of those days of the month when Aunt Flo's in town.

    Posted by: Southern Comfort | Nov 20, 2011 2:51:53 AM

  24. Agreed on not using "blah, blah, blah." Rick Santorum is a repugnant, backward, hateful idiot, but we win by treating our opponents with the basic respect they don't give us in their hysterical ramblings on right wing sites. Especially since this is more of a straight journalism-light blog. I think, "etc." would have worked fine.

    Posted by: LuckyLinden | Nov 20, 2011 10:43:51 AM

  25. Anti-blahs:

    Maybe youre right. A lot of journalists have used blah blah blah or its variations elsewhere -- Lester Bangs used to write blur blar blare, which I like better. But the point is, Santorum didnt address the question; he used the same straw man argument that his co-bigots use, suggesting that ending DADT somehow sexualizes the military, or grants special privileges to gays. It doesnt, obviously -- this is an argument based on a fictitious premise -- and I thought, rather than re-publishing this months-old quote and refuting it for the gazillionth time, itd be best, at this late date, to treat Santorums response like the white noise it is.

    That said, I do think youre right. Blah blah blah doesnt read very well, at least in this context.

    - BKT

    Posted by: Brandon K. Thorp | Nov 20, 2011 10:51:42 AM

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