Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thoughts From the "DADT" Hearing

I was privileged enough to join two other PFLAG National staffers in being part of the audience of the House Armed Services Committee's historic hearing on the military's discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ("DADT") policy.

Overall I think it was abundantly clear that the majority of Representatives present were sympathetic to the plight of gay and lesbian servicemembers. The hearing was chaired by Rep. Susan Davis (D-California). Here's a clip of Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pennsylvania) taking issue with Elaine Donnelly's remarks.

Elaine, who was one of two witnesses opposing equality, mostly made arguments about "eligibility" - though with no clarification under scrutiny as to why a gay or lesbian servicemember is any less able to serve than a heterosexual one. From there her arguments spiraled downwards into ridiculous comments about HIV, "transgenderism" [sic], and sexual harassment. I can tell that at least half the audience was snickering and laughing at her (not with her).

As OnTop Magazine is reporting, "Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-California) authored the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which would repeal the ban and allow gays to serve openly in the military. But Democrats concede there will be no vote on the legislation unless Barack Obama is elected president. President Bush would certainly veto the legislation." I am hopeful after attending yesterday's hearing that there are plenty of sane heads in Congress on this issue who see the unfairness and discrimination of "DADT." Perhaps in the near future we will see it repealed and finally highly qualified servicemembers can serve without fear.


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