A 14-year-old bisexual high school student challenged Rick Perry on his support for reinstating Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell during an event in Decorah, Iowa, asking the Texas governor why he is “so opposed to gays serving openly in the military, why you want to deny them that freedom when they’re fighting and dying for your right to run for president.” Perry attributed his position to his faith and the “sin” of homosexuality:
“Here’s my issue. This is about my faith, and I happen to think, you know, there are a whole hosts of sins. Homosexuality being one of them, and I’m a sinner and so I’m not going to be the first one to throw a stone,” Perry said. “I don’t agree that openly gays should be serving in the military. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was working and my position is just like I told a guy yesterday, he said, ‘How would you feel if one of your children was gay?’ I said I’d feel the same way. I hate the sin, but I love the sinner, but having them openly serve in the military, I happen to think as a commander in chief of some 20,000 plus people in the military is not good public policy, and this president was forced by his base to change that policy and I don’t think it was good policy, and I don’t think people in the military thought it was good policy.”
Unfortunately for Perry, a Pentagon survey of the military conducted before DADT was repealed found that an overwhelming majority of servicemembers didn’t mind serving alongside openly gay and lesbian soldiers. Since the policy ended on Sep. 20th, military leaders have not reported any problems or disruptions and have fully embraced the change.