This afternoon, as the House considers the Defense Authorization Bill of 2010, Republicans took to the floor to condemn a single amendment that would repeal the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy, which prohibits gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military. Under the proposal, Congress would repeal the statute this year, but the current military policy would remain in place until President Obama, the Defense Secretary, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certified that repeal is “consistent with the military’s standards of readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion and recruitment and retention” and Congress and the public had 60 days to review the study.
In an orchestrated manner, almost every single House Republican took to the floor to condemn the proposal, misrepresenting it as an immediate repeal that does not allow the Defense Department to complete its study. In the midst of considering other amendments, Republicans turned the discussion into an opportunity to condemn gays in the military:
REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): “If someone has to be overt about their sexuality, whether it’s in a bunker where they’re confined under fire, then it’s a problem. And that’s what repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell does. It says, ‘I have to be overt, I don’t care. I want this to be a social experiment.”
REP: TODD AKIN (R-MI): “So are we then going to then protect and condone homosexuality in the military?…Is this the sort of thing that George Washington or our founders would be proud of, that we are doing today in this quick flash before Memorial Day?”
REP. TRENT FRANKS (R-AZ): “We’re going to say, ‘No. We don’t care what you say. You can die for us on the battlefield, but you have no input into this process.’ That’s a disgrace to this institution and it’s an insult to the men and women who pour out their blood on foreign battlefields for the country that we all love so much.”
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In the Senate, Armed Services Republicans threatened to filibuster the defense authorization bill “if it comes to the floor with Democrat-backed language repealing DADT.” “I’ll do everything in my power,” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said. “I’m going to do everything I can to support the men and women of the military and to fight what is clearly a political agenda.” Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) agreed, promising to support a filibuster “if the repeal language makes it into the version of the bill that goes to the floor, most likely after the Memorial Day recess.”