As President, Perry Says He Would Not Forcibly Discharge Gay Soldiers After Reinstating DADT

GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry enshrined his prejudice against gay soldiers in a divisive, anti-gay ad: “You don’t need to be in the pews every Sunday to know that there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military.”

But speaking before veterans yesterday on the U.S.S. Yorktown in New York City, Perry said that, as president, he would not demand gay soldiers be discharged if “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was reinstated. Indicating he’d defer that decision to others, he said, “I think you go back and you have that conversation with the civilian leaders and the military leaders on how you want to deal with them.” Watch it:

In other words, Perry is suggesting that openly gay and lesbian servicemembers undermine unit cohesion and military effectiveness — particularly during a time of war — but not enough to warrant a discharge. What’s even less clear is how Perry would procedurally reinstate a policy — squeeze the toothpaste back into the tube — after servicemembers have already come out. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Do Forget?