Critics of the proposal to eliminate the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for homosexuals who serve in the military have warned the proposed change would advance a “radical” social agenda and would affect military readiness and the well-being of those in military service.
On Thursday the Senate Armed Services Committee and the full U.S. House approved measures to change the 1993 law allowing homosexuals to serve only if they do not reveal their sexual orientation.
The measures came in an amendment to a more than $700 billion defense spending bill, the Associated Press reports. The amendment and defense bill passed the House in formal vote on Friday by a margin of 229 to 186, with 26 Democrats voting against it and nine Republicans in favor. On Thursday evening a measure allowing the policy change passed the Armed Services Committee by 16-12, with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) favoring it and former Marine Sen. Jim Webb (D-Virginia) opposing it.
Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), who opposes the proposal, claimed it jeopardized the entire spending bill.
Former presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), a Navy veteran, said he thought the change would be “very harmful to the morale and effectiveness of our military.”
President Barack Obama claimed the legislation would “help make our armed forces even stronger and more inclusive by allowing gay and lesbian soldiers to serve honestly and with integrity.”
For her part, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the amendment would “close the door on a fundamental unfairness” while Joe Solmonese, president of the homosexual advocacy group Human Rights Campaign (HRC), argued that supporters were “on the right side of history,” according to the Associated Press.
Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, claimed that with the amendment the “hard left of the Democratic Party” chose to put “a political constituency with a radical agenda - the homosexual lobby - ahead of the well-being of our men and women in uniform.”
He claimed that in the Thursday vote Speaker Pelosi and the House Majority “ignored the pleas of the military, including all four service heads -- those who lead the men and women who actually understand what it means to selflessly serve.”
Perkins said the Speaker’s action denied the request of military associations who asked that debate be postponed until the review of the policy was completed.
"Unfortunately, for our brave servicemen and women, the liberal majority chose to advance the social agenda of a radical special interest group without giving an opportunity for the military to finish its own study of the issue. Concern, not for the troops but for their own political hides, is moving the Democrats to act with such expediency.”
Tommy Sears, executive director of the Center for Military Readiness, also criticized the proposal at the political website National Review Online.
“If, on the eve of Memorial Day, they impose this social-engineering scheme on the nation’s armed forces, Democrats will have earned infamy rather than a legacy,” he charged.
“Despite the professional views of our highest-ranking military leaders, congressional Democrats and the White House have decided to defy this advice, and instead brazenly force a vote on repeal at the eleventh hour to pay off their gay-activist political allies.”
A report from the FRC recently analyzed the rates of sexual assault in the military and found homosexuals in the armed forces are three times more likely to commit sexual assault. It also reported that many of the discharges of homosexuals under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy “are actually for sexual assaults.”