Republican Presidential Debate: Audience Boos Gay Soldier, Sparking Controversy Online (Video)

Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Rick Santorum

"This is absolutely sickening!" one viewer opines, while another adds, "I am embarrassed to have ever been a Republican."

During the Republican presidential debate Thursday night, a video was shown featured a gay soldier asking the candidates a question about the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

The clip featured Stephen Hill saying he had to "lie about who I was in 2010 when I was deployed to Iraq because I'm a gay soldier, and I didn't want to lose my job."

He went on to ask, "Do you intend to circumvent the progress that's been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military?"

After the clip aired, some people in the audience were clearly heard booing.

Candidate Rick Santorum said he would reinstitute the DADT policy because, in the military, "sex is not an issue. It should not be an issue. Leave it alone. Keep it to yourself whether you are heterosexual or homosexual."

"I think tries to inject social policy into the military," he said. "And the military's job is to do one thing: to defend our country,"

The response earned him applause from the audience.

But viewers of the debate were quick to hit Twitter to criticize the audience, the GOP party and the candidates for failing to say anything in response to the booing. Among the tweets:

Drew W
I bet tonite was the first time a GOP audience booed a soldier at a debate. Thank God #DADT is over. Their hatred was immeasurable.
I am embarrassed to have ever been a Republican

Joan Walsh
The night #Republicans booed a soldier ... This is just sad.
The Little Idiot
#gopdebates tea party members have cheered 4 executions & 2nite they booed a soldier who served his country honorably. ?
Eric Mata
Fact that these people booed a soldier in Iraq is such an embarrassment to the American people. Typical Conservatives!
My Liberal Slant
The night Republicans booed a soldier - Another proud moment for the GOP!
Benny Elliott
The lowest of the low, Republican crowd booed an active duty soldier!! WTF They don't support the troops!! #GOPdebate
I really hope someone was in the GOP debate parking lot peeling off the 'Support the Troops' bumper stickers after crowd booed soldier.
Allison Jewell
Tea Party audiences have now cheered an execution, cheered letting an uninsured man die, and booed a soldier in Iraq. Wow.
Omar A.
So in tonight's debate the crowd booed a soldier serving in Iraq. Just a couple of debates away from a public lynching!
I can't believe they booed a soldier…. actually.. yeah, I can. #republicandebate
Michael Chapman
wow... shocked the media is so "shocked" the douchebag knuckle dragging racist/homophobes in R debate audience booed an active duty soldier
Daniel Hartmann
This is absolutely sickening! A soldier is booed by the audience (so much for supporting our troops, GOP!)
Mike Parker
And in this spectacular branding triumph for the GOP we see a US soldier who served in Iraq being booed by Rep audience.
Not sure who to be more disgusted with, the handful who booed a soldier or the wannabe presidents who didn't step up to defend him.
Guy English
Cheered 234 executions. Yelled "Let him die!" about uninsured man. Killed a man despite having reasonable doubt. Booed a soldier. Big week!
Jeremy Schulman
Let's all try to imagine what wld happen if the aud @ a Dem debate had booed a soldier serving #gopdebate
Joseph J. Santorsa
Not one of those 9 shivering cowards on the stage at the #GOPDebate defended the service of the soldier who was booed tonight. #p2
Joseph J. Santorsa
Fox News can be very proud that tonight a brave American soldier serving in Iraq was booed at the #GOPDebate. #p2
Rob Brown
If you're one of the people who booed the soldier who came out to his father after #DADT, you can get hit by a bus.
However, there a few that tried to clarify what the saw as the actual situation:
PLEASE RT. Concrete floor under all our chairs. Amplified & echoed the 1-2 jerks who booed the soldier.
Thought they booed the current DADT policy, not the soldier.

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