During a debate on Friday, Colorado GOP Senate nominee Ken Buck made some of his most direct comments to date opposing the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, saying that the military should be "as homogeneous as possible" and the country should not get distracted in talking about "lifestyle choices."
Buck and his opponent, Democrat Michael Bennet, engaged in a "lively" debate on Friday, hosted by Colorado Springs affiliate KOAA and the Colorado Springs Gazette. Although the primary focus of the debate was economic issues -- with Bennet saying he supports "extending the middle class tax cuts" and Buck stating that extending the Bush tax cuts would "pay down the deficit" -- the two men also touched on social policies.
In the past, Buck has said that he supports keeping the military's ban on gay men and women serving openly in the military, reportedly telling the Colorado College Republicans, "Right now, the policy works. I'm not saying it will never be changed. It probably will be changed. But I'm not sure if we're ready today." In Friday's debate, Buck gave a longer answer, saying that "lifestyle choices" should not be part of the discussion:
BUCK: I do not support the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. I think it is a policy that makes a lot of sense. It's not whether an individual is gay can serve in the military, the question is whether that individual can be openly gay in the military. It's one thing to deny someone access to the military and to a career in the military, it's another thing to -- for morale purposes and other purposes -- make sure that we are as homogeneous as possible in the military in moving towards the common goal of the security and the military action, as opposed to the distractions that are caused by allowing lifestyle choices to become part of the discussion.
The Huffington Post contacted the Buck campaign for clarification on his positions, but we did not receive a response.
Being gay is not a "lifestyle choice," according to all major mainstream medical and mental health organizations. The American Psychological Association states, "[M]ost people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation."
"It flies in the face of our military, in terms of they were able to successfully integrate when we desegregated the armed forces," said Trevor Thomas, communications director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Fund, which supports repealing DADT. "They were able to successfully integrate women in the academies, when that was moved forward, and then they were able to now -- happening right now -- successfully integrate women officers on submarines, serving side by side men. So Mr. Buck remains out of touch, and he should talk to some military."
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