I admit it, I thought I had seen everything when it came to the contempt the far right has for the citizens of this country who takes a different view (and that would be most of us, frankly).

Still, I was startled when the audience at a previous Republican presidential debate cheered Rick Perry's unbroken death penalty execution record.

Then later I was even more surprised when the crowd cheered the idea of allowing an uninsured young man to die. It gave me a real sense of what ancient Rome must have sounded like to anyone unfortunate enough to find themselves standing in the center of the Colosseum.

And deeply shocking as those two moments were, they each time went unchallenged by the assembled conservative candidates on the stage.

But when the crowd last night loudly booed a brave gay soldier who deployed to Iraq, where he put his life on the line every day for the future of this country, I was incensed.

It was, simply put, a disgusting spectacle.

'Do you plan to circumvent the progress that has been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military?' the soldier asked the candidates.

But before any candidate could answer the crowd erupted in loud boos and cat calls. Simply because he was gay this crowd made clear the soldier was unworthy of their respect, beneath their consideration. To the far right you can be gay or American, but you can't be both.

That's an extreme view and Fox News host Megyn Kelly chose an extremist candidate to answer it.

Rick Santorum, who can always be depended upon to offer a completely off-the-wall comment, disrespected the gay soldier further by saying that whilst he supports the war in Iraq he did not support the gay troops fighting that war.

Santorum could not even bring himself to thank the soldier for his service.


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If you're gay, last night made clear, many Republican voters will overlook your patriotism, overlook your service to the nation, and instead they will work to ensure that your second class status is enshrined in the constitution of the United States, where they will treat you with loud contempt, in private and in public, no matter who you are or what you ever do.

America deserves leaders who honor our shared commitment to this nation, rather than seek to create caste systems where some soldiers contributions are mocked and dismissed.

Not one of the candidates on the The Orange County Convention Center in Florida last night had enough patriotism in them to object to hearing a compatriot mocked.