(DECORAH, Iowa) — A 14-year-old openly bisexual girl collared Texas Gov. Rick Perry after his town hall in Decorah, Iowa, Sunday evening and challenged him to explain the reasoning behind his belief that gays should not serve openly in the military.
“I just want to know why you’re so opposed to gays serving openly in the military, why you want to deny them that freedom when they’re fighting and dying for your right to run for president,” Rebecka Green, a high school student from Decorah, asked the Texas governor.
“Here’s my issue. This is about my faith, and I happen to think, you know, there are a whole hosts of sins. Homosexuality being one of them, and I’m a sinner and so I’m not going to be the first one to throw a stone,” Perry said. “I don’t agree that openly gays should be serving in the military. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was working and my position is just like I told a guy yesterday, he said, ‘How would you feel if one of your children was gay?’ I said I’d feel the same way. I hate the sin, but I love the sinner, but having them openly serve in the military, I happen to think as a commander-in-chief of some 20,000-plus people in the military is not good public policy, and this president was forced by his base to change that policy and I don’t think it was good policy, and I don’t think people in the military thought it was good policy.”
After her confrontation with Perry at the Winnishiek Hotel, Green told reporters she disagrees with the governor’s position on the issue.
“I’m openly bisexual and I don’t want to be told that if I wanted to serve in the military that I couldn’t, and I just think that policy is completely ridiculous that he thinks that. I just don’t like it,” Green said. “Him or nobody should be able to tell somebody who they can or can’t love.”
Perry was unaware that she was bisexual when she approached him with the question.
Rebecka’s father, Todd Green, a Democrat and professor of religion at Luther College, expressed disappointment in Perry’s response to his daughter.
“For a group of women and men to fight for the freedom to run for president, to gather here peacefully and assemble here peacefully in a place like Decorah, but not for them to have the freedom to be open about who they are but he can be free to be open about who he is, to me it seems to be a major contradiction and very hypocritical,” Todd Green said.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Ryan Browne and Evan Perez, CNN
Dan Berman, CNN