presidential candidate Sam Brownback is backing the
Pentagon's top general over his remarks that
homosexuality is immoral.
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
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
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
favorite of the religious right, has been a prominent
opponent of same-sex marriage.
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)