Georgia businessman and radio host Herman Cain said he would not reinstate the military gay ban.
“I never would have overturned ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in the first place,” Cain said. “Now that they have changed it, I wouldn’t create a distraction trying to turn it over as president. Our men and women have too many other things to be concerned about rather than have to deal with that as a distraction.”
Other candidates, including former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, indicated that the timing of the repeal was harmful to military personnel due to the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, though he gave no indication of whether or not the law should be repealed in a time of peace.
The issue of same-sex marriage was also raised during the debate. Congressman Ron Paul told CNN’s King that the “government should get out of the marriage business,” leaving the issue to the church, while Cain said he believed that the states should decide for themselves whether or not to allow same-sex unions. Most of the other candidates suggested that they would support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
“I do believe in self-determination for the states,” Bachmann said. “I also believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. I carried that legislation when I was a senator in Minnesota, and I believe for children, the best possible way to raise children is to have a mother and father in their life.”
“I’m running for the presidency of the United States and I don’t see it as the role of a president to go into states and interfere with their laws,” Bachmann added.
Former Georgia Congressman Newt Gingrich touted his efforts to pass the 1996 federal law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
“I helped author the Defense of Marriage Act, which the Obama administration should be, frankly, protecting in court,” Gingrich said. “I think if that fails, at that point you have no choice but to go to a constitutional amendment.”
Notable Republicans who were not present included former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and the former Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani.
Top photo: Republican contenders for the GOP presidential nomination debate in New Hampshire (via YouTube)