Republican attempts to damage repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” at tomorrow’s House Armed Services Committee markup
May 10, 2011
By Adam Bink
Back in January, Sen. Dianne Feinstein sent an e-mail to Courage Campaign members calling out Rep. Duncan Hunter’s attempts to gut repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Hunter wanted to expand the requirements for certification to include all the military service chiefs. Here’s what she wrote:
Last month, I proudly cast my vote to repeal the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which I have opposed since it was first introduced in 1993. President Obama signed that bill into law, and it’s now on the path to implementation.
So imagine my disappointment when I learned California Congressman Duncan Hunter is introducing legislation that would paralyze repeal efforts.
Rep. Hunter knows his legislation has no chance of success. Should it pass the House, it will never be approved by the Senate or signed by the President.
Worse, this effort is a distraction from the real work at hand. California is faced with an unemployment rate of 12.4%, a crushing budget shortfall, alarming health insurance rate hikes, crumbling infrastructure and a broken immigration system. Now is not the time for distractions that have no chance of becoming law.
Will you join me and the Courage Campaign in asking your member of Congress to reject this legislation, and instead focus on real priorities for Californians and the rest of America?
I was proud to co-sponsor the bill that repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” last month. As President Obama said upon signing repeal, “This is done.”
He’s right. This issue is settled. It’s time to move on to address what California needs, not look backwards to derail equality.
We need to get our economy moving here in California. As your Senator, I’ve always made that my top priority. Immigration reform, building smart infrastructure like high-speed rail that creates good-paying jobs, and helping small businesses succeed are also at the top of my list.
I think those are priorities that we can all agree upon.
Tomorrow, the House Armed Services Committee will be considering amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act, including Hunter’s amendment, and the votes may be tight. Expanded certification would not only delay and imperil repeal, but it’s unnecessary. On December 2, 2010, the Secretary of Defense testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that “I would not sign any certification until I was satisfied with the advice of the service chiefs that we had, in fact, mitigated, if not eliminated, to the extent possible, risks to combat readiness, to unit cohesion and effectiveness.” In addition, all of the service chiefs have testified before the House and Senate Armed Services Committees that expanded certification is not necessary and that they are very comfortable with their ability to provide military advice to Secretary Gates and have it heard.
So Hunter’s amendment is the waste of time that Sen. Feinstein says it is, and a naked effort to gut repeal and score points. It will never become law. The military believes it’s unnecessary. The commander-in-chief believes it’s unnecessary. And so do we.
Rep. Akin will be offering an amendment to restrict the use of military facilities and chaplains in states that permit same-sex marriages to perform those marriages in response to the recent news. This amendment would essentially deny equal access by gay and lesbian servicemembers. The military already opens up facilities for a variety of religious ceremonies including baptisms, weddings and rituals. If DOMA (Akin’s excuse) wasn’t law, Akin would offer this kind of amendment anyway.
Reps. Palazzo and Hartzler are also expected to offer anti-equality amendments that are either unnecessary like Hunter’s or straight anti-gay.
The following members are either new to the House and swing votes, or voted in favor of repeal last year. Please give them a call and tell them to oppose ALL unnecessary Republican amendments that would damage the DADT repeal process.
– Rep. Chris Gibson (NY-20): (202) 225-5614
– Rep. Joe Heck (NV-3): (202) 225-3252
– Rep. Todd Platts (PA-19): (202) 225-5836
– Rep. Jon Runyan (NJ-3): (202) 225-4765
– Rep. Bobby Schilling (IL-17): (202) 225-5905