Steve Benen writes about a difficult question asked at last night's CNN/YouTube Republican debate:
"My name is Keith Kerr, from Santa Rosa, California. I'm retired brigadier general with 43 years of service, and I'm a graduate of the Special Forces Officer Course, the Command and General Staff Course, and the Army War College. And I'm an openly gay man.
"I want to know why you think that American men and women in uniform are not professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians."
Kerr responded that he was disappointed with the candidates' responses, saying bluntly that "With all due respect, I did not get an answer from the candidates," and observing that "every day, the Department of Defense discharges two people not for misconduct, not for the unit cohesion...that Congressman Hunter is talking about, but simply because they happen to be gay." Then the situation became even more revealing, as the Republican audience began booing Kerr. Benen writes:
It was an interesting contrast -- at Democratic debates, veterans get standing ovations. At Republican debates, veterans get booed if they're gay.
It seems to me the problem here is that Republican presidential candidates want to discriminate against able-bodied, patriotic Americans, who are prepared to put their lives on the line during a war for their country. Conservatives can't explain why this policy makes any sense at all, so they're attacking an honorable, 43-year military veteran for daring to raise the subject in the first place.
Booing Kerr isn't the answer; allowing equality in our ranks is.
The full debate transcript is here, and the video of Kerr's question is here. Conservatives are carping that Kerr is involved with the "LGBT Americans for Hillary" steering committee, but fail to note that he also spoke at the Log Cabin Republicans convention in 2004 and is a member of the non-partisan SLDN Military Advisory Council. I see no problem with Kerr's political involvement, and neither does Benen:
Kerr asked a legitimate question about a political issue. Candidates answered it. Kerr defended his position, and the conservative audience booed him. Who cares if he supports a Democratic presidential candidate? It wasn't a partisan question.
It's not surprising that LGBT veterans support Democrats, at least until GOP is willing to treat them as full human beings.