"Rep. Ike Skelton: My Constituents Don’t Care About Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell But I Will Still Oppose Its Repeal"
“I was everywhere in my district, everywhere. It just wasn’t raised,” Skelton said. “There are other things on people’s minds, like jobs and the economy.”
Nevertheless, he pledged to continue to oppose repealing the 1993 legislative language, of which he was the original sponsor, despite the fact that a large majority of Congress has voted to end the ban on gays serving openly in the military. “I oppose it, period,” he said.
Not only is Skelton not talking to his voters about his crusade to preserve the ban, he’s not talking to the military people his committee represents, either.
The point , of course, is that outside of a small vocal group of opponents, soldiers don’t care either. A poll of military personnel released in March found that sexual orientation is “not a burning issue that overwhelms veterans’ lives.” The poll, commissioned by The Vet Voice Foundation and conducted jointly by Republican and Democratic pollsters finds that most veterans are “comfortable around gay and lesbian people, believe that being gay or lesbian has no bearing on a service member’s ability to perform their duties, and would find it acceptable if gay and lesbian people were allowed to serve openly in the military.” Sixty-percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans believe that being gay or lesbian “has no bearing on a service member’s ability to perform their duties” and 73% say it is “personally acceptable to them if gay and lesbian people were allowed to serve openly in the military.”
If his constituents don’t care about gays in the military and most soldiers don’t think a members’ sexuality affects their performance, then why is Skelton so concerned?