Burr: ‘Founders’ Wrote 14th Amendment, Repealing DADT Could Require Changes In ‘Accommodations’

During tonight’s North Carolina senate debate, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) said he was against changing the 14th amendment to eliminate birthright citizenship, but said “it is important for the courts to determine” if the “founders” intended to allow for the practice:

BURR ON THE 14th: But I think when you have a debate in the country and that issue is raised, then it’s important for us to have that arbitrator, the courts to come in and tell us did our founders, when they wrote the 14th, did they have something else envisioned?

But the opposite should happen to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Burr insisted. That policy should be taken out of the courts and left to Congress. He didn’t know if being gay was a choice but worried that repealing the policy would require the military to change “the accommodations for troops”:

BURR ON DADT: Now personally I don’t see a reason to reverse it. But that’s a personal opinion. I think the country should have a debate. And what we should do is we should wait until the Department of Defense has gotten back the survey of those individuals who serve…. But I’m confident of this—that this is the wrong time to change this policy. We’ve got hundreds of thousands of troops deployed. We don’t yet know what we might have to do, from a standpoint of changing the accommodations for troops if the policy changed.

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As Pam Spaulding points out, Burr’s concern about “soap dropping in the shower,” so to speak, is unfounded. American soldiers are already showering alongside gay troops and so are the foreign troops who serve alongside openly gay servicemembers. None of our 25 allies that allow open service segregate troops on the basis of sexual orientation. As Larry Korb argues in this report, “the militaries of Great Britain, Canada, and Israel amply demonstrate that lifting the ban on openly gay service will not require the U.S. military to provide separate housing, shower, or other common-use facilities for gay and lesbian service members.” In fact, even General Carl Mundy, commandant of the Marine Corps from 1991 to 1995 and an opponent of a repeal, has predicted that segregating the forces “would be absolutely disastrous in the armed forces. … It would destroy any sense of cohesion or teamwork or good order and discipline.”

On the topic of health care, Burr said that he supported provisions that ban insurance companies from denying coverage to applicants with pre-existing conditions and close the Medicare Part D doughnut hole, but insisted that the Affordable Care Act must still be repealed.

“Actually, Judy, those provisions are acceptable to me and most Republicans and most Americans,” he said. “I think it’s important to realize we could have the elimination of pre-existing conditions tomorrow. We could have the elimination of lifetime caps tomorrow. We could begin to close the doughnut hole tomorrow. But you can’t fix the current health care bill that the president passed. And the truth is it doesn’t close the doughnut hole.”