WASHINGTON – Republican presidential candidate Sam Brownback is backing the Pentagon's top general over his remarks that homosexuality is immoral.
The Kansas senator planned to send a letter on Thursday to President Bush supporting Marine Gen. Peter Pace, who earlier this week likened homosexuality to adultery and said the military should not condone it by allowing gay personnel to serve openly.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs also said: "I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts."
Lawmakers of both parties criticized the remarks, but Brownback's letter called the criticism "both unfair and unfortunate."
"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."
While there is no indication that Pace's job is in jeopardy, Brownback said "personal moral beliefs" should not disqualify anyone from a position of leadership in the U.S. military.
"General Pace's recent remarks do not deserve the criticism they have received," Brownback said. "In fact, we applaud General Pace for maintaining a personal commitment to moral principles."
Pace said he supports the military's "don't ask, don't tell policy" in which gay service members are required to keep their sexual orientation private.
A Brownback spokesman said the senator was working Thursday to get other lawmakers to sign his letter.
Brownback, a favorite of the religious right, has been a prominent opponent of gay marriage.
Presidential contender Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has said Pace should be given a chance to explain his comments.