Fox’s Chris Wallace Likens Being Black to Homosexuality; Santorum: ‘Simply Not True’

By Terence P. Jeffrey | October 10, 2011 | 12:42pm EDT

Fox News Chris Wallace and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania on the stage at the Iowa GOP/Fox News Debate in Ames, Iowa on Aug. 11, 2011. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace yesterday likened being black to being homosexual while questioning former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, a Republican presidential candidate, on his opposition to allowing homosexuals in the military.

Santorum countered Wallace by saying it is “simply not true” that being black is the equivalent of being homosexual, noting that homosexuals are defined by “activities” not the inherent color of their skin and that homosexuality is a “behavioral issue” for serving in the military.

Wallace framed the question of homosexuals in the military as an equal-rights issue.

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“Heterosexuals have been openly heterosexual for centuries in the military without any problems,” Wallace said to Santorum. “And you talk about gays not being given, or that they shouldn't be given special privilege. All that ‘don't ask, don't tell’ and the repeal of it does is say that they are given the same rights as everybody else has had forever.”

Santorum responded: “Well, the problem is that the sexual activity with people who you are in close quarters with, and who happen to be the same sex, is different than having a discussion and being open about your sexual activity where there is—you’re not in that same situation. So, you're talking about injecting, as I said before--”

“No, wait a minute,” said Wallace. “Are you saying, you think that homosexual gay soldiers are going to sit there and go after their male counterparts in the barracks?”

“I didn't suggest that,” said Santorum.

“You said they were in close activity, in close proximity,” said Wallace.

“They are in close quarters,” said Santorum. “They live with people. They obviously shower with people, all the things that they are involved in living in a barracks, or living out in the field. Those are issues that again, some people, you are not talking about that individual person, but you're talking about the ability for people to be able to have that unit cohesion, to be able to work together in an efficient, fighting way. And, obviously-- and also, by the way, the affect on retention and recruitment of people to live in that environment.

“And, yes,” said Santorum, “there are people who would feel uncomfortable in that environment. And as a result, it could hurt our ability to retain and recruit and to put the best fighting force in place.”

Wallace then asked Santorum to comment on a quote from an—initially--unnamed source.

“I want to put up a quote for you,” said Wallace. “‘The Army is not a sociological laboratory. Experimenting with Army policy, especially in time of war would pose a danger to efficiency, discipline and morale and would result in ultimate defeat.’ Does that sound about right, sir?”

“Roughly, yes,” said Santorum

“That's a quote from Colonel Eugene Householder who is in the Army Adjutant General's Office in 1941, arguing against racial integration in the military,” said Wallace.

“I figured. I've heard similar quotes. It's very, very different,” said Santorum. “I mean, we are talking about people who are, you know, simply different because of the color of their skin, not because of activities that would cause problems for people living in those close quarters. It is a very different thing.”

Wallace countered: “Senator, I read Colonel Householders' comments yesterday. Everything that you said, living in close proximity, sharing bunks and showers, being in close proximity: He used exactly the same arguments you use to argue against racial integration in the military in the 1940s.”

Santorum responded: “Yes, I understand that, and I know the whole gay community is trying to make this the new Civil Rights Act. It's not. It's not the same. You are black by the color of your skin. You are not homosexual necessarily by, obviously, by the color of your skin or anything else. It's by a variety of--”

Then Wallace said: “No, but you are by--It is a fact of your biology. Obviously, it's one thing if somebody is coming on to somebody in a room, but the sheer fact that somebody is a homosexual, are you saying. I mean, these are all volunteers. They are all defending to protect our country, sir.”

Said Santorum: “That is exactly the point, Chris. They are all volunteers, and they don't have to join in a place where they don't feel comfortable serving with people because of that issue. And that is the problem, Chris.

“And, look, the idea that somehow or another that this is the equivalent, that being black and being gay is the same, is simply not true,” said Santorum. “There are all sorts of studies out there that suggest just the contrary, and there are people who were gay and lived a gay lifestyle and aren't anymore. I don't know if that's the similar situation. I don't think that's the case with anybody who is black.

“So it's not the same,” said Santorum. “And I know people try to make it the same, but it is not. It is a behavioral issue, as opposed to a color of the skin issue, and that makes all the difference when it comes to serving in the military.”

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