Legion opposes last-minute DADT repeal

Featured in National Security
Legion opposes last-minute DADT repeal
U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, second from right, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing in Washington, D.C., Dec. 3, 2010. Schwartz discussed the findings of the Defense Department?s Comprehensive Review Working Group report on the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy regarding gays in the military. U.S. Air Force photo

The House is expecting to begin debate today on a stand-alone repeal of the military’s ban on gay servicemembers revealing their orientation. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD) and Rep. Patrick Murphy (PA) have been working on the issue and their language tracks with a bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate last week. The Senate may consider a similar bill later this week.

The leader of the nation’s largest veterans’ service organization expressed alarm over this latest effort to swiftly overturn the controversial law.

“One must ask, ‘What’s the rush?’,” said American Legion National Commander Jimmie L. Foster. “And why should this matter of social policy take precedence over the far more critical matter of national security?”

Foster was referring to repeated failure within Congress to pass the overarching National Defense Authorization Act, which authorizes appropriations for military activities of the Department of Defense, military construction, equipment acquisition, and military personnel strengths for the 2011 fiscal year. The bill has been set aside in the Senate due to a number of controversial provisions, including DADT repeal language.

“While our combat troops continue to focus on their mission on the war front throughout the world, Congress can’t focus on funding those very service members,” said Tim Tetz, director of the Legion’s legislative division. “Congress should rush to pass the Defense Authorization Act and take whatever time is necessary to understand the nuances a repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ would have on our nation’s fighting forces.”

The American Legion has repeatedly asserted that now – in the midst of war – is simply not the time for social experimentation. This cautionary message was the same offered by Commandant of the Marine Corps General Amos and the leadership of the Army and Air Force. They all agreed in testimony last week before the Senate Armed Services Committee that a repeal of DADT would be a distraction upon those in combat roles today.

Past American Legion National Commander Robert W. Spanogle is critical of the rush to repeal DADT.

“Count me in with the Commandant and those soldiers and Marines in the mud on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq, the tip of the spear,” said Spanogle. “Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed said they believed there would be a negative impact on their unit’s effectiveness (with a repeal of DADT).”

While the House and Senate remain committed to passage of a repeal of DADT, critics join The American Legion in questioning the need to rush this issue to a vote. More than 13 hearings were held when the original law was enacted and the House hasn’t held hearings on the findings of the Department of Defense survey of service members.

“The American Legion remains convinced a repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ cannot be easily implemented and could compromise the effectiveness of crucially needed fighting forces,” said Foster. “Political expediency should not take precedence over providing adequate time for debate. There is no reason this must be decided in the next two weeks when it’s been in place for 17 years.”

 

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luckey4u

December 17, 2010 - 4:18pm

Sense when was sexual orientation ever asked on any job application? Personally I do not agree with that kind of life style in any way shape or form. Reality tho is that some folks choose that life style. My opinion is that this should be treated like any other kind of sexual behavior. If they cross the line and try to force their beliefs on someone and that person feels uncomfortable with it then it needs to be treated as sexual abuse. The military as usual is going to end up leading the way to social acceptance be it that we want to or not.

Tim Foor

December 17, 2010 - 11:40am

The "US" stamped on the GI issued blanket, does NOT stand for US ! It's as simple as that. That's why Lt. General Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller requested that EVERY USMC Base had a "Whorehouse" located on it. Denied Due to Political Incorrectness, instead requested a Battalion of Women Marines ! The "Mix" may very well be Okay & Working Well, now. But, just What in the Hell are we saying to Our Society Overall ? If it's so Alright or Accepted & Condoned. Then why is it that we, as Human Beings, Can't Reproduce from it's activity ? It's a "Choice", NOT a "Right", in the US Military. Civilian Life, then "Whatever". That's the "Big Difference", here. Civilian vs Military. The Articles of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, applies in this sitituation. If You "Served", then you should understand this First. Homosexuals, STOP trying to write Yourselves into "History".

Pwcurley

December 17, 2010 - 5:55am

I am becoming very concerned on the frequency that you take political stances that seem very much aligned with the Republican Party and with the fact that you make statements that begin with the phrase "The membership of the American Legion". I am a member of the Legion and no one has ever asked me my opinion. Let's get out of the politics business and into the Veterans helping Veterans business.

don.cain

December 16, 2010 - 6:52pm

I don't care how ANYONE voted ... you can't VOTE to deny someone their rights. One of the purposes of the Bill of Rights was to protect individuals from "the tyranny of the majority". Secondly, Oklahoma did not vote to deny gays the right to serve in the military - they voted to deny them the right to marry. You are mixing apples and oranges here. The American Legion also wanted to move slowly on integration of the military ... they wanted to move slowly on the inclusion of females as Regular Army (dissolution of the WAC) and pretty much any other actions progressives have taken to keep the military representative of our society. If someone doesn't want gays to marry, they shouldn't marry one. If someone doesn't want to serve honestly, openly, and honorably with gay soldiers, leave the military. You won't be missed.

mark.ross

December 16, 2010 - 6:00pm

The Legion should not claim to speak for all of us on this issue. There are many members who do not agree with holding up any change based on bias and prejudice, and many others who actively support repeal of DADT. If the Legion leadership can't find it in their mindset to actively support the Constitution by encouraging the elimination of bias and the protection of freedoms for all, including gays in uniform, the least they could do is take a neutral stance.

Paul W. Morris Sr.

December 16, 2010 - 4:45pm

Personally I don't understand the problem. I am a heterosexual Vet and I think people are downright ignorant about WARS and FIGHTING in them. It doesn't matter WHO is in your "foxhole" with you if its another man or a woman I promise you when you're being SHOT at and your LIFE is in DANGER you and whoever is in that hole with you are NOT thinking about SEX, your thinking "AM I GONNA LIVE THROUGH THIS" people need to get out of the OLD FASHION WAY OF THINKING!!Besides its been going on for a long time, and people didn't know the difference because it wasn't thought about.What difference does it make WHO a soldier prefers to be "INTIMATE" with as long as it doesn't enterfere with his or her ability to confront the ENEMY. Just let them do there job and get over the IGNORANCE. After all their skills and abilities has NOTHING to do with their SEXUAL preference,that BULLET OR BOMB OR WHATEVER IS AIMED AT THEM DON'T CARE what they do behind the FRONT or at HOME.The question SHOULDN'T MATTER!

rao47

December 16, 2010 - 4:33pm

I am a vet with 30 years of service and agree with the position taken by the American Legion. Repeal of DADT will be detrimental to the Armed Forces.

whaggard1

December 16, 2010 - 4:26pm

I remember in the early 70's race was a big deal. Everybody went to race relations classes, the service hammered everybody that exibited any racial prejudice and now its no big deal. As for homophobia, I've never really understood the problem with gays in the military. Perhaps, because in 20 years, I was never hit on, or perhaps because it just isn't a problem. Some people worry about problems that don't exist. I say end DADT and get on with our lives. In 20 years I expect that people will be wondering what all the fuss was about.

Sooners61

December 15, 2010 - 1:14pm

I don't understand it we voted against it and still the gays don't like the outcome. Can you imagine playing a football game and your team didn't win you could just go to the supreme court and have it reversed!

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