LGBT issues again absent from Tea Party debate

Rick Perry

There were no LGBT-related questions during Monday night’s Republican presidential debate (September 12), even though the driving interest behind the debate was the Republican Party’s far right-wing.

The debate took place on the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, with the same eight candidates as the most recent debate on MSNBC. About half the questions were posed by CNN news anchor Wolf Blitzer; the other half came from members of the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party.

There was considerable sparring on such issues as the survival of Social Security, how to deal will illegal immigrants, and whether the government can require vaccination for a sexually transmitted cancer.

There were a lot of boos. The audience at the Fairgrounds repeatedly booed U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas for saying the U.S. is threatened by terrorists because the U.S. occupies and bombs so many Muslim nations. Texas Governor Rick Perry was booed for defending his state’s offer of in-state tuition breaks for immigrants who are not yet citizens.

And there was a lot of cheering, primarily when the Republican candidates placed the blame for anything on President Obama—including the recession and the deficit.

This was the fourth nationally televised debate among announced Republican presidential hopefuls since August 11, when Fox News broadcast the first just prior to the Iowa straw poll.

And this was CNN’s second debate. Its first was one in which it turned the questioning over to right-wing activists who posed questions that asserted their anti-gay political views as accepted fact.

There was some anticipation that the members of the Tea Party, also known as the Taxed Enough Already (Tea) party, would focus on controversial “social issues,” such as abortion and marriage for same-sex couples. That’s because the Tea Party has—despite its tax-focused identity—established itself as the far right wing of the party on social issues.

The next Republican presidential debate takes place September 22 (9 p.m. Eastern) and is sponsored by Fox News and Google in Orlando, along with the Florida Republican Party. The debate will take the form of 2008’s infamous “YouTube debate” in which ordinary citizens submitted questions via and some of those were played back during the debate for candidates to answer. To submit a question for the September 22 debate, go to

Leave a Reply