By Jacob Sullum
Ron Paul, who last year voted to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy after initially opposing the change, recently told the Iowa State Daily that straight service members are "causing more trouble than gays" with their disruptive sexual liaisons. The Texas congressman did not mean that heterosexuals are especially horny or indiscreet, just that there are more of them:
Everybody has the same rights as everybody else, so homosexuals in the military isn't a problem. It's only if they’re doing things they shouldn't be, if they're disruptive. But there's…men and women getting into trouble with each other too. And there's a lot more heterosexuals in the military, so logically they're causing more trouble than gays. So yes, you just have the same rules for everybody and treat them all the same.
The Hill notes that Paul also has offered a fiscal argument against the old policy:
"I have received several calls and visits from constituents who, in spite of the heavy investment in their training, have been forced out of the military simply because they were discovered to be homosexual," Paul said to The Washington Post. "To me, this seems like an awful waste. Personal behavior that is disruptive should be subject to military discipline regardless of whether the individual is heterosexual or homosexual. But to discharge an otherwise well-trained, professional and highly skilled member of the military for these reasons is unfortunate and makes no financial sense."
Regarding gay marriage, Paul told the Iowa State Daily it is not properly a federal issue, and he seemed to advocate the separation of marriage and state:
The government has no business in your private life, you know, so if one person is allowed to do something, so should everyone else. The whole gay marriage issue is a private affair, and the federal government has no say.
That sounds similar to the position taken by former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who says, "I support gay unions. I think the government ought to get out of the marriage business." None of the other Republican presidential contenders would say anything remotely like that, of course. But recall that last time around even the Democrats, including Barack Obama, felt constrained to emphasize their opposition to gay marriage (although Obama did promise to let homosexuals serve openly in the military). Obama has said his position on gay marriage is "evolving," but the most recent version still puts him to the right of Paul and Johnson.