Gay soldier booed at GOP debate; candidates stay mum

Some members of the GOP debate audience booed a gay soldier who asked via video whether the Republican candidates would reinstitute the recently repealed "Don't ask, don't tell" policy of banning openly gay soldiers.

After Stephen Hill, who is serving in the Army in Iraq, asked his question, a handful of members of the audience booed loudly. None of the Republican candidates responded to the audience's reaction.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) answered that "Any type of sexual activity has no place in the military" and that he would return to the policy of requiring gays and lesbians to stay silent on their sexuality or get thrown out of the military. His response garnered loud applause.

When pressed with what he would do with soldiers who have now come out, he said, "What we're doing is playing social experimentation with our country right now, and that's tragic" but said that he would not throw out soldiers who have recently come out due to the end of "Don't ask, don't tell."

This is not the first time the Republican audience has had a controversial reaction during a GOP debate and the candidates have avoided addressing it. At the last debate, when asked if a dying man who had not bought health insurance should be allowed to die, many in the audience clapped, cheered and shouted, "Yes."

No Republican candidates criticized them at the debate, something which was widely discussed in the media and criticized by Democrats.