While it might seem logical, given the nation’s latest job numbers, that when Congress returns after an August recess its members will be focused on the economy, unemployment and the national deficit, at least one federal lawmaker from California is hoping to switch the conversation to gays and lesbians in the military.
U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), a long-time opponent of open service in the military for gays and lesbians, is drafting legislation, according to Army Times, that wouldn’t seek to reinstate the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy set to end this month, but would allow military personnel to voice their opposition to serving with such individuals.
Speaking with National Public Radio in February 2010, Hunter gave his reasons for opposing repeal of DADT:
… I think that its bad for the cohesiveness and the unity of the military units, especially those that are in close combat, that are in close quarters in country right now. Its not the time to do it … [T]he folks who have been in the military that have been in these very close situations with each other, there has to be a special bond there. And I think that bond is broken if you open up the military to transgenders, to hermaphrodites, to gays and lesbians. …
It’s not just gays and lesbians. Its a whole gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual community. If you’re going to let anybody no matter what preference – what sexual preference they have that means the military is going to probably let everybody in. Its going to be like civilian life and the I think that that would be detrimental for the military. …
The Hunter proposal is expected to specifically address sensitivity training that is being conducted by the military branches in preparation for the Sept. 20 repeal date of DADT.
“We’ve heard the training is really pushing the line for people who believe homosexuality is wrong on religious and personal grounds,” an aide, who asked not to be identified, told Army Times. “It is a legitimate concern, under the circumstances, with the services working on disciplinary policies for people who don’t agree with this decision.
“The military always falls in line, but that doesn’t mean that the men and women who serve in its ranks should suddenly be forced to personally accept something that is contrary to their own principles,” the aide said.
The proposal has not yet been submitted for consideration, but it is believed that if such a measure is going to be considered, it would need to be one of the first proposals viewed by Congress when it reconvenes on Sept. 7.
Hunter, who was first elected to Congress in 2008 as the successor to his 14-term father of the same name, served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan as a member of the Marine Corps. He is the first Marine combat veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan elected to Congress.
Since DADT was first introduced in 1993, the military has discharged more than 13,500 soldiers for being gay.