After Congress repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall (R) introduced legislation to prevent gay people from serving in Virginia National Guard. On Wednesday, Marshall added to his claims that gay people undermine military readiness and unit cohesion by arguing that gay soldiers would harm America’s ability to fight “beside Muslim troops”:
MARSHALL: There is about 200 militaries in the world, roughly 27 of them allow open homosexuals to serve, most of them are in Western Europe. These are the results of court decisions, not military decisions. The two biggest ones with voluntary militaries, Pakistan does not allow open homosexuals. China, which has conscription does not do it, India does not allow it. Russia does not do it. So we’re pushing the envelope here and we’re going to jeopardize our alliances, I think, when we fight beside Muslim troops who have a real hard time, you know, dealing with this kind of behavior.
Significantly, gay troops have not undermined the alliances of the nations that do allow open service. In fact, those countries have not reported any disruption or reduced military capacity, despite initially sharing some of Marshall’s anxieties about implementing the change.
Marshall’s proposal stands little chance of being enacted and has been condemned by Virginia’s conservative governor Bob McDonnell. “The governor is a retired United States Army officer, and he knows it is critically important that there be one set of rules for all our men and women in the military, since uniformity of major policy across all branches is essential to effective operations,” McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin told the Washington Post. “We are not aware of a single instance in recent history where the Virginia National Guard has not complied with the policies and procedures of the Department of Defense. Furthermore, approximately 90 percent of the Virginia Guard’s funding is federal, and any departure from federal policies may put this funding at risk.”
Delegate Joseph Morrissey (D) has also proposed a counter bill that would “codify in state law that the Virginia National Guard is subject to the same eligibility requirements as the U.S. military.”