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Rep. Hunter Writes Obama: Don’t Certify Repeal of Military Gay Ban Yet

Rep. Hunter Writes Obama: Don’t Certify Repeal of Military Gay Ban Yet

Rep Duncan Hunter, who has been a vocal opponent of repealing the military’s ban on openly gay service personnel, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), has reportedly written a letter to President Obama urging him to hold off on repeal certification. This follows a recent AP interview implying that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is willing to certify the repeal before he leaves his post at June’s close.

From Army Times:

A Hunter letter to Obama, signed by about 20 other House Republicans and being delivered to the White House today, asks the administration “refrain” from certifying that repealing the gay ban won’t hurt military readiness, recruiting and retention and unit cohesion.

“Such a dramatic policy change should be taken cautiously, even more so now while we currently have American troops in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the letter said.

The letter takes issue with whether the military is really ready: “Merely providing training and educational briefs to our service members is not enough to justify moving forward with certification when consequential policy and regulatory changes associated with implementation must be reviewed by Congress under its oversight function. Until those policy changes have been delivered and reviewed by Congress, it would be irresponsible to proceed with the certification process.”

This is not the first attempt by Republican lawmakers to slow the repeal.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a last minute amendment to the DADT repeal bill itself in December. The amendment was designed to require all four service chiefs to certify the change where only the signatures of the defense secretary, the joint chiefs chairman and the president are currently required.

In so doing, McConnell knew that at least two service chiefs opposed the repeal — though they have since testified to confirm that training on DADT repeal seems to have precipitated little resistance in the ranks. This could have stalled the retiring of the policy indefinitely however, perhaps recognizing Senate lawmakers would never agree to this amendment, it was quickly withdrawn.

Rep. Duncan Hunter then chose the House’s debate on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2012 to resurrect the amendment, which was duly passed in May.

The Senate, with its slim Democratic majority and bipartisan support for the repeal, seems unlikely to pass similar language, but if used as part of a bargaining tool it may be a possibility, albeit a slim one.

The bill will most likely require President Obama’s signature. Following the passage of the House version of the NDAA, a White House spokesperson said that Obama opposed any attempt at slowing down the repeal. He has not said he would veto the NDAA based on the amendment to slow the repeal being attached however. 

This, of course, is redundant if, as Gates is said to have indicated, the military is ready for the repeal by or around the end of June because the process of wrangling over and reconciling the NDAA will not be completed by Congress until the fall, should the final bill even contain Rep. Hunter’s amendment, and certification will have come too soon to slow — something Rep. Hunter and cohorts must be aware of with this attempt to appeal directly to the president.

And it does seem that certification is within reach. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said this week in an interview with David Letterman that certification would “certainly” go ahead within the next two months. He also had a frank assessment of opposition to the repeal that, while there may be those that opposed it, the U.S. Army has by its nature followed changes in the law. The law has now changed, he said, and “we will follow this law, and I think it will be fine.”

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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, wtih thanks to the U.S. Army Photostream.

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75 comments

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8:43AM PDT on Jun 22, 2011

what these political retards forget is that gay people can vote too ;p

1:48PM PDT on Jun 20, 2011

Ridiculous. Their defense of DADT has nothing but ignorance to sustain it.

7:47AM PDT on Jun 20, 2011

NO MORE DELAYS !!!!! SIGN IT & be DONE with IT !!!!!

5:54AM PDT on Jun 20, 2011

Take care of this long over due action by signing and moving on!! Gates will leave at the end of June so get it done!!

5:10AM PDT on Jun 20, 2011

correction
GET DONE NOW!!!!!

5:08AM PDT on Jun 20, 2011

The law was passed, and the president signed it.
No more delay
GET IT CONE, NOW!!!

12:06AM PDT on Jun 20, 2011

Nancy M. ...I agree with that statement...only thing... for myself, I would hesitate personally, before I'd say that to him in person :-) as he might just try and take me up on it.....after all , he is a Republican and we all know about the wide spread cases of 'closet cases' within their political ranks..especially those who try ,overly so, to do things they think will convience others that they aren't or who might even think they are... by targeting gays/lesbians...even more than the other Repubs do the nearer any election gets for the rightwing's extremist/fundamentalist votes....

Wow so many great post...from cheers to laughs from this chair I'm in.

I agree with Terry King and others...just sign the bill NOW and be done with it Obama . ..and get on with the Corporate Wars with anyone wanting to be a part of them doing so ..honestly,with integrity, with pride and with homor... open about who they are just as any others who serve who aren't gay or lesbian can.

1:17PM PDT on Jun 19, 2011

Let's get over this B.S. It's time to grow up and permit others to be, who they really are.
Minding one's own business, is a start.

No other person's way of life, can influence you to change yours. That is, if you truly believe, in yourself.

To those who pretend to be Christians, I thought god was in charge of the hereafter. My teaching was such, that god will make the final judgment.
What is wrong with you people, who want to do god's job?

12:24PM PDT on Jun 19, 2011

What are you waiting for President Obama? There will always be opponents and you should understand that. Please sign the bill now, the debates are over. You owe this to the men and women who serve in our military.

8:26AM PDT on Jun 19, 2011

Still clinging on to the hope of stopping the necessary repeal of the heinous DADT policy?

It;s quite laughable, really, all the silly ideas some poeple are coming up with.

Look at some of the ancient armies who were held up as paragons of bravery, such as the Sacred Band of Thebes. This army, a crack troop of 150 homosexuals. The idea was that they would fight bravely for their homeland, but even stronger for the man they loved. They were greatly feared and much respected, playing crucial roles in many battles during the 4th century BC. They were only defeated by Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander, in the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC. He was so impressed by their bravery that he erected a monument in their honour on their gravesite which still stands today.

One of the Sacred Band's most impressive leaders was Epaminondas who was responsible for the transformation of Thebes from a City State subjugated to Sparta to one of the foremost states in Greek politics.

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