Gay conservative groups say Pawlenty is pandering to far right with ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ remarks
The Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud criticized former Gov. Tim Pawlenty for stating that he would reinstate the military’s ban on openly serving gay and lesbian servicemembers. Pawlenty told members of the Family Leader, a group that opposes rights for same-sex couples in Iowa, that if he was elected president in 2012, he would pull funding for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. He also said he’s unsure if gays and lesbians should be allowed in the military at all.
The groups said Pawlenty was pandering to social conservatives to shore up a floundering presidential campaign.
Here’s video of Pawlenty’s statements in Iowa (story continues after video):
Think Progress asked him, “Do you think gays should be allowed to serve in the military at all, or do you think it’s detrimental to unit cohesion?”
Pawlenty responded, “I really defer to the military leaders to a large degree on this issue. I supported maintaining Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
GOProud, a group of LGBT conservatives and a sponsor of the CPAC conference Pawlenty will speak at this weekend, belittled Pawlenty’s campaign. Chris Barron, chairman of the board of GOProud, released this statement:
I understand that Pawlenty is trying hard to get people to pay attention to his campaign. Its certainly a challenge for someone with such little stature in the conservative movement to compete with high profile conservative leaders like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, etc. Unfortunately for Pawlenty, comments like this simply show how totally out-of-touch he is with the issues that rank and file conservatives care about. If he wants to show he is a committed social conservative he would be much better served talking about the need to defund Planned Parenthood, end federal funding for abortion, reign in an out of control judiciary and support for a parents rigths amendment to protect home-schoolers.
The Log Cabin Republicans also dinged Pawlenty for his positions on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
“Governor Pawlenty’s comments fly in the face of both overwhelming public opinion and common sense,” said R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans executive director. “Congress voted in a bipartisan majority in December to enact the clear will of the American people, which demanded that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ be stricken from the books. The Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and leadership throughout the Pentagon along with Congressional leaders, including Senator John McCain, are now in full support of implementing open service. The debate on this matter is done, and that Governor Pawlenty continues to fight the end of this failed and unconstitutional policy demonstrates that he is willing to put personal ambition and political pandering ahead of the priorities of the American people.”