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supports Pace's remark on gays

supports Pace's remark on gays


Republican presidential candidate Sam Brownback is backing Marine Corps general Peter Pace over his remarks that homosexuality is immoral.

Republican presidential candidate Sam Brownback is backing the Pentagon's top general over his remarks that homosexuality is immoral.

The Kansas senator planned to send a letter on Thursday to President Bush supporting Marine Corps general Peter Pace, who earlier this week likened homosexuality to adultery and said the military should not condone it by allowing gay personnel to serve openly.

Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, ''I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts.''

Lawmakers of both parties criticized the remarks, but Brownback's letter called the criticism ''both unfair and unfortunate.''

''We should not expect someone as qualified, accomplished, and articulate as General Pace to lack personal views on important moral issues,'' Brownback said. ''In fact, we should expect that anyone entrusted with such great responsibility will have strong moral views.''

Asked whether he agreed with Pace's comments, Brownback said: ''I do not believe being a homosexual is immoral, but I do believe homosexual acts are. I'm a Catholic, and the church has clear teachings on this.''

While there is no indication that Pace's job is in jeopardy, Brownback's letter to Bush said ''personal moral beliefs'' should not disqualify anyone from a position of leadership in the U.S. military.

''General Pace's recent remarks do not deserve the criticism they have received,'' the letter said. ''In fact, we applaud General Pace for maintaining a personal commitment to moral principles.''

Pace said he supports the military's ''don't ask, don't tell policy'' in which gay service members are required to keep their sexual orientation private. Brownback on Thursday said ''don't ask, don't tell'' is ''an appropriate policy.''

Brownback, a favorite of the religious right, has been a prominent opponent of same-sex marriage.

Brownback spokesman Brian Hart said the senator was working Thursday to get other lawmakers to sign his letter. Hart said Brownback's office would not disclose who has signed on to the letter until there is ''a final count.''

On his campaign bus in Iowa on Thursday, Sen. John McCain, another Republican presidential hopeful, declined to comment when asked whether he agreed with Pace's comment that homosexuality was immoral. He said he still backs the military's ''don't ask, don't tell'' policy: ''It's working.'' (Sam Hananel, AP)

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