Congressman seeks ban on gay, lesbian Nat’l Guard membersAround the Nation, This Week Monday, January 23rd, 2012
WASHINGTON – Oklahoma Rep. Mike Reynolds (R-Oklahoma City) is pushing legislation that would implement a more extreme version of the discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) law, which would be applicable to the state’s National Guard. The bill would bar gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals from serving in the Oklahoma National Guard. The bill goes beyond the discrimination contained in the now-repealed DADT statute, and allows government officials to directly question someone about their sexual orientation – essentially removing the “Don’t Ask” component contained in DADT.
“Since repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell last year, military leaders have testified that our nation’s military is stronger,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “It’s surprising that an Air Force veteran like Rep. Reynolds would disagree with our nation’s military leaders and seek to weaken Oklahoma’s National Guard by introducing this legislation. This legislation serves no purpose but to prevent qualified individuals from serving their country and their state.”
“Mike Reynolds has a long-standing history of representing fringe views that rarely have the best interests of all Oklahomans at heart,” said Laura Belmonte, chair of The Equality Network. “This legislation is demoralizing to Oklahoma’s LGBT community and our supporters, and it sends a message that it is acceptable to discriminate against people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.”
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen said the day after implementation of repeal, “… with implementation of the new law fully in place, we are a stronger joint force, a more tolerant joint force, a force of more character and more honor, more in keeping with our own values.”
If the bill were to become law, Oklahoma would join countries like China, Iran, Syria, North Korea and Pakistan in prohibiting gays and lesbians from serving their country.
Oklahoma’s new legislative session begins Feb. 6.
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