Capt. Stephen Hill, Gay Soldier Booed at GOP Debate, Pushes For Marriage Equality

Author: Erin Mershon
Publication: The Huffington Post
Publication Date: June 11th, 2012

The U.S. servicemember who was booed during a Republican presidential debate for asking about the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" lent his voice to a video adreleased Monday that highlights inequalities for gay servicemembers and their families. 

Click here to watch video

U.S. Army Reserve Capt. Stephen Hill and his husband, Joshua Snyder, discuss in the spot the difficulties they face because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denies legally married same-sex couples the federal protections that heterosexual couples enjoy. Under DOMA, marriages between same-sex individuals are not recognized by the military, preventing some servicemembers from listing their partners as next-of-kin or taking emergency leave if something happens to their partners at home.

"Service members and their families making the kind of sacrifices that are required to serve this country shouldn't be treated as second-class citizens and their marriages shouldn't be treated as second-class marriages," Snyder said in a statement.

Hill made headlines in November, when he asked the GOP presidential candidates whether they would "circumvent the progress that's been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military."

The crowd watching the debate booed Hill and then thunderously applauded Rick Santorum, who answered that he would reinstate the ban on openly gay troops serving in the military.

The spot, released by Freedom to Marry and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, is part of an ongoing campaign from the two organizations to highlight the stories of military families harmed by DOMA.

Hill and Snyder are also plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by SLDN challenging DOMA and other federal statutes that prevent the military from providing equal protections and support to same-sex families.