US Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has come under fire for saying on Tuesday that said she believed it is for “others to conclude” if homosexuality is morally wrong.
Her comments were in response to the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the American armed forces, Marine General Peter Pace, who said in an interview on Monday that he thought homosexuality was immoral.
Yesterday she issued a statement saying: “I disagree with what he said and do not share his view, plain and simple.”
Her rival for the Democratic Party’s nomination for the Presidency, Senator Barack Obama, followed a similar tactic.
On Wednesday he chose not to answer repeated questions on the morality of homosexuality, and tried to concentrate on the current US policy barring out gay, lesbian and bisexual people from serving in the military.
Last night a spokesman for his campaign said Senator Obama did not think homosexuality is immoral.
Steve Sanders, a leading gay Democrat, told newsday.com:
“Hillary and Barack have made very public overtures to religious Americans. They are trying to figure out how progressive Democrats can also make appeals to Americans of faith. It’s a work in progress.”
A Republican Senator and former Navy Secretary, John Warner from Virgina, said on Tuesday that he “disagreed strongly with the chairman’s view that homosexuality is immoral.”
Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said he supported the current policy.
“I believe the current policy has proven to be effective. And I would not propose a change in the current policy at this time,” he told ktar.com during a campaign stop in Arizona.
“We’re in the middle of a conflict and the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which I didn’t think made a lot of sense of when I first heard about it, has obviously served us well.”
General Pace has admitted he should not have expressed his personal views on homosexuality in the context of who can serve in the military.
His admission came after his boss, Defence Secretary Robert Gates condemned his remarks.
Gates said that personal opinions have no place in discussion of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” introduced in 1993 by then-President Bill Clinton.
Gay men and lesbians can only continue to serve in the US military only if they do not engage in homosexual acts, and keep their sexual orientation a secret.
“In expressing my support for the current policy, I also offered some personal opinions about moral conduct,” said General Pace.
Senators Clinton and Obama have both said publicly they want to scrap “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”