Friday, July 17, 2009
Sen. Gillibrand: Self-Interest Above Support for Troops [Elaine Donnelly]
Activists for gays in the military, apparently adopting the leftist mantra “by any means necessary,” have launched four major attempts to circumvent the1993 law stating that homosexuals are not eligible to serve in the armed forces. The statute, which is frequently mislabeled “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” enjoys strong support in the military. Gay activists and their friends in Congress nevertheless are determined to impose a San Francisco–style agenda on the armed forces — incrementally if not all at once.
The first ideological attack occurred when ABC commentator George Stephanopoulos aggressively questioned Obama's national security adviser, Jim Jones, on the May 10
This Week program. Reflecting demands from the activist Michael D. Palm Center, Stephanopoulos asked Jones whether Pres. Barack Obama would suspend enforcement of the 1993 law. Three days later White House spokesman Robert Gibbs shot down the idea. As I wrote at the time, an imperious presidential order disregarding the law would constitute a serious, perhaps irreparable breach of faith with men and women who volunteer to serve.
Next, President Obama pandered to his LGBT Left constituency by proclaiming June as “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality” month. Reacting to vociferous pressure, Defense Secretary Robert Gates displayed ignorance of the law by wondering whether there is a “more humane” way to enforce it. But laws and regulations defining eligibility for military service are not “inhumane.” Everyone can serve our country in some way, but there is no inherent right to be in the military.
If Secretary Gates really wants to be helpful, he should drop the expendable “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” administrative policy, and fully explain and enforce the 1993 law that Congress actually passed.
The third attempted ambush came on June 25, when openly gay congressman Jared Polis (D., Colo.) attempted to offer two amendments to the House defense authorization bill.
One measure would have repealed the present homosexual ineligibility law, and the other would have “suspended” ongoing enforcement, in effect having the same result as repeal. Polis withdrew the amendments before they could be considered by the House, probably due to opposition from Missouri Democrat Ike Skelton, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee. Despite their present political advantages and a liberal media constantly promoting the agenda, the failure of Polis’s amendments represented another major defeat for the LGBT Left.
Now comes the fourth major push for circumvention of the 1993 law — Democratic senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s brazen attempt to put politics over principle. According to The Hill, Gillibrand, New York's junior senator, who was appointed to replace Hillary Clinton, is using the controversial issue of gays in the military to solidify her support among gay voters. (Liberal congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is expected to challenge Gillibrand in the Democratic primary.)
Gillibrand is considering offering an amendment to the 2010 defense authorization bill that would put an 18-month “moratorium” on discharges of homosexuals in the military. According to The Advocate, a gay publication, Senate majority leader Harry Reid
(D., Nev.) has endorsed the idea and wants to suspend discharges permanently.
As of this writing, we don’t know whether Senator Gillibrand actually will offer gratuitous legislation to circumvent and nullify the law. We do know that her politically motivated move to the LGBT Left, described in The Hill, is unworthy of serious consideration by members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.
Advocates of repealing the 1993 law are showing poor judgment in trying to persuade President Obama or Secretary Gates to simply stop enforcing the law — an action that would violate their oaths of office and betray the interests of the troops they lead. It is simply wrong to play political games with an established law, upheld several times by the federal courts, which was written to protect morale, recruiting, retention, and readiness in the all-volunteer force.
Senator Reid, as majority leader, should know this better than anyone. His endorsement of a proposal that would allow the president to ignore existing law undermines the constitutional authority of the U.S. Senate, which Harry Reid leads.
There is no justifiable reason for any elected or Pentagon official to suspend enforcement of the law for the sake of persons who are not eligible to serve under the clear language of the 1993 law. Even the Washington Post, which advocates repeal of the law, advised gay activists in a June 27 editorial that they “should not be looking for ways to get around existing policy.”
In 1993, overwhelming, bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress passed the law to protect good order, morale, and readiness in our military. Instead of worrying about political payoffs, President Obama, Secretary Gates, and every member of Congress should remember the interests of our men and women in uniform, which should be their paramount concern.
07/17 05:10 PMShare