Sixteen years before “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed, Senator Bernie Sanders stood on the floor of the House of Representatives to defend homosexual members of the military against a California republican who referred to them as “homos.”

“Was the gentleman referring to the many thousands and thousands of gay people who have put their lives on the line in countless wars defending this country? You have insulted thousands of men and women who have put their lives on the line.”

In 1996, public opinion towards homosexuals was far different than it was now, and Sanders’ open support of homosexuals in the military was a truly progressive act. Sanders was also one of 67 members of the House, a small minority, to vote against DOMA which banned same-sex marriage in the same year.

People may point at other political candidates turn-around on issues like homosexuality and gay marriage and say, “can’t they change their mind?” but those who support Bernie Sanders have a candidate who never had to; he was on the right side of history from the very beginning.

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Sydney Robinson is a political writer for the Ring of Fire Network. She has also appeared in political news videos for Ring of Fire. Sydney has a degree in English Literature from the University of West Florida, and has an active interest in politics, social justice, and environmental issues. She would love to hear from you on Twitter @SydneyMkay or via email at srobinson@ringoffireradio.com