GOP House Candidate Who Served In The Military: Gays ‘Were Taken Care Of In Ways I Can’t Describe To You’

Tennesee House Candidate Ron Kirkland

Tennesee House Candidate Ron Kirkland

Last week, Republican candidates in Tennessee’s “8th Congressional District made candid comments about gays at a “Tea Party forum that included discussion about the military’s ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ policy,” the Associated Press reports. Ron Kirkland, George Flinn and Randy Smith criticized President Obama for trying to lift the ban, arguing that it would add “unnecessary” stress the military. Then, Kirkland re-called how gay servicemembers were treated during his time in the military:

Kirkland, a Vietnam veteran, said of his time in the military: “I can tell you if there were any homosexuals in that group, they were taken care of in ways I can’t describe to you.

Smith, who served in the first Iraqi war, added: “I definitely wouldn’t want to share a shower with a homosexual. We took care of that kind of stuff, just like (Kirkland) said.”

Kirkland later clarified his remarks, telling a reporter from the Jackson Sun that he was joking. “It’s a joke,” he said, stressing that he didn’t mean to invite violence against gay servicemembers. “Things don’t go well in military barracks when you have 50 guys sleeping on top of each other.” “It was just the reality of the way things were,” he said. “It’d be the same as having men and women in the same barracks.”

Smith, meanwhile, admitted that has friends who were quietly gay while serving in the military. “He claimed to be mainly concerned about increased hazing and violence perpetuated by a ‘bad element’ that he thinks could come with a repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.'”

Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.