Fox's Chris Wallace Hits Santorum from Left on Gays in Military

On today's Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace devoted the last five minutes of a 13-minute interview to sparring with Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, as the Fox host challenged the former Pennsylvania Senator for his opposition to gays serving openly in the military.

After playing a clip of Santorum from a recent debate arguing against the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Wallace began the exchange:

Senator, you say sexual activity has no place in the military. Heterosexuals have been openly heterosexual for centuries in the military without any problems, 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 or the repeal of it does is say that they are given the same rights as everybody else has had forever.

Some back and forth ensued, and, after Santorum made the argument that allowing gays to serve openly could hurt the morale of the military, Wallace tried to discredit Santorum by reading a quote from the 1940s that made a similar argument against racial integration of the military:

You say, Senator, if I may follow up because we really are running out of time, and it's continuing this conversation, you say don't inject social policy into the military, their job is to fight and defend, and not a social experiment. I want to put up a quote for you:

The Army is not a sociologial laboratory. Experimenting with Army policy, especially in a time of war, would pose a danger to efficiency, discipline and morale and would result in ultimate defeat.

Does that sound about right, sir?

Wallace did not reveal that the quote was a reference to racial segregation until after Santorum had agreed that such a quote could be applied to the current situation on gays in the military. After Santorum contended that ethnicity and sexuality are different, Wallace continued:

Senator, I read Colonel Householder's 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 of the military in the 1940s.

Below is a transcript of the last five minutes of Wallace's interview with Santorum from the October 9, Fox News Sunday:

CHRIS WALLACE: In the couple of minutes we have left, I want to get into one last issue with you, and that is I want to discuss the last Fox debate in which a gay soldier got up at the debate on video and asked whether or not as President you would reinstate Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Here is what you said to him.

RICK SANTORUM, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, DURING DEBATE: Any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military, and the fact that they're making a point to include it as a provision within the military that we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege and removing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, I think tries to inject social policy into the military-

WALLACE: Senator, you say sexual activity has no place in the military. Heterosexuals have been openly heterosexual for centuries in the military without any problems, 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 or the repeal of it does is say that they are given the same rights as everybody else has had forever.

SANTORUM: Well, the problem is, is that 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, something-

WALLACE: But wait a minute, are you saying you think that homosexual gay soldiers are going to sit there and go after their male counterparts in the barracks?

SANTORUM: I didn't, I didn't suggest that.

WALLACE: But you said they're in close activity, uh, close proximity.

SANTORUM: They're in close, they're in close quarters, they live with people, they obviously shower with people, the whole kinds of, all of the things that are involved in living in a barracks or living out in the field, those are issues that, again, some people, you're 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 effect on retention and recruitment of people to live in that environment. And, yes, 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: Senator, you-

SANTORUM: As I said before, Chris, that has no-

WALLACE: You say, Senator, if I may follow up because we really are running out of time, and it's continuing this conversation, you say don't inject social policy into the military, their job is to fight and defend, and not a social experiment. I want to put up a quote for you:

"The Army is not a sociologial laboratory. Experimenting with Army policy, especially in a time of war, would pose a
danger to efficiency, discipline and morale and would result in ultimate defeat."

Does that sound about right, sir?

SANTORUM: Roughly, yes.

WALLACE: That's a quote from Colonel Eugene Householder, who was in the Army general's office in 1941 arguing against racial integration of the military.

SANTORUM: I figured, I've heard similar quotes. That's very, very different. I mean, we're 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, quote, closed quarters.

WALLACE: Senator, Colonel Householder, and I read his-

SANTORUM: It's a very different thing, a behavior versus an act.

WALLACE: Senator, I read Colonel Householder's 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 of the military in the 1940s.

SANTORUM: Yeah, I understand that, and I know the whole gay community is trying to make this the new civil rights act. It's not. It is not the same.You are black by the color of your skin. You are not, you know, homosexual necessarily by obviously by the color of your skin or anything else.

WALLACE: No, but you are by-

SANTORUM: It's by a variety of-

WALLACE: I mean, it is a fact of your bio-, it is a fact of your biology. Obviously, it is one thing if somebody, you know 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're all defending to serve, protect our country, sir.

SANTORUM: That's 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's the problem, Chris. And, look, the idea that somehow or another that this is the equivalent, that, you know, being black and being gay is the same, is simply not true. 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 that's black. So it's not the same and I know people try to make it the same but it is not. It is behavioral issue as opposed to a color of the skin issue, and that makes it all the difference when it comes to serving in the military.

WALLACE: We're going to have to leave it there, Senator Santorum. I want to thank you so much for talking with us today. Safe travels on the campaign trail, sir.

SANTORUM: Thank you.