The Plank

Gop Audience Boos Gay Veteran

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Towards the end of tonight's debate, a retired Army Brigadier General named Keith Kerr asked the candidates -- via, of course, a YouTube video -- about their thoughts on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Kerr revealed that he is himself gay, but came out after his 43 years in the military. Anderson Cooper posed the question directly to Mitt Romney, who, in his past life as a candidate who ran to the left of Ted Kennedy on gay rights, once said that he "look[ed] forward" to the day when gays could serve openly in the military. As is his wont, Romney sputtered and fumbled the question. 

Cooper asked Kerr -- who was in the audience -- if he got the answer he wanted, and, unsurprisingly, Kerr said no and began to explain why. As Jonathan Martin also reports, the audience then began to boo Kerr (there were a few, remote shushes). You would think that conservative journalists -- apoplectic at the "Betray Us" smear -- would be outraged at such foul treatment of our veterans, right?

Actually, National Review Online's Kathryn Jean-Lopez, the slavish Gold Star Super-Duper Trooper of the Mitt Romney Fan Club, points out that Kerr is an acknowledged supporter of Hillary Clinton and supported John Kerry in 2004 (K-Lo, it should be noted, once postulated that gay marriage in Massachusetts was responsible for an isolated case of bestiality). Kate O'Beirne also complains about "the gay questioner" whom CNN allowed to "filibuster." Okay. Perhaps CNN should have vetted him more and had him acknowledge these affiliations. But I don't see how that justifies the largely GOP audience shouting down a veteran with over 40 years of service to his country. 

We all know the GOP is the party for our soldiers. Except the gay ones.  

--James Kirchick 

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