Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) today led a House Armed Services subcommittee oversight hearing on the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The Defense Department has said they expect training to be completed by August, clearing the way for the ban to be officially ended. During the hearing, Undersecretary of Personnel Readiness Clifford Stanley and Vice Admiral William Gortney responded to a volley of questions from Republican representatives still arguing against repeal.
Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA) began a line of questions attempting to demonstrate that being gay and violating the standard of conduct are synonymous and was caught off guard when Gortney explained that they are not:
SCOTT: Did you discharge him from the service because he was gay? Or because he violated his standard of conduct?
GORTNEY: Because he was gay.
SCOTT: He did not violate his standard of conduct before he was dismissed?
GORTNEY: He did not.
SCOTT: (pause) That… that’s not the answer I thought you would give, to be honest with you, Admiral.
GORTNEY: It happens to be the truth.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler, meanwhile, revisited the issue of troops showering together, trying to equate sex and sexual orientation while others expressed concern about the 1st Amendment rights of chaplains under the new policy.
Aubrey Sarvis, Executive Director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), described the hearing as a “shameless and transparent attempt by a few repeal opponents to delay, defund, and derail the timely certification and full repeal” of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. He also told the Washington Post that the training “should be done in 30 days. We should have full certification by May 1.”