Following their recent non-committal public comments regarding General Paces’ statement, US presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have said that homosexuality is not immoral.

Clinton and Obama had initially declined to directly comment on whether they believed that Pace – who said in an interview that being gay was immoral – was right.

Now Clinton has clarified her position in an interview on Bloomberg News:

“Well I’ve heard from a number of my friends and I’ve certainly clarified with them any misunderstanding that anyone had, because I disagree with General Pace completely. I do not think homosexuality is immoral. But the point I was trying to make is that this policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is not working. I have been against it for many years because I think it does a grave injustice to patriotic Americans who want to serve their country. And so I have called for its repeal and I’d like to follow the lead of our allies like, Great Britain and Israel and let people who wish to serve their country be able to join and do so. And then let the uniform code of military justice determine if conduct is inappropriate or unbecoming. That’s fine. That’s what we do with everybody. But let’s not be eliminating people because of who they are or who they love.”

Gay rights groups reacted with outrage to the remarks by Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in an interview with The Chicago Tribune, in which he said that, “I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts.” He also defended the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

Obama has reportedly issued a statement saying that, “As the New York Times reported today, I do not agree with General Pace that homosexuality is immoral. Attempts to divide people like this have consumed too much of our politics over the past six years.”

Meanwhile Republican presidential candidate Sam Brownback has, in a letter to President Bush, backed the General’s statements.

He writes that, “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.”

On Thursday gay rights activists demonstrated in New York outside the Times Square Army recruiting centre in protest against the remarks made by General Peter Pace.

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