Scroll To Top
World

Republican
lawmaker calls for end to military's gay ban

Republican
lawmaker calls for end to military's gay ban

Ileana_ros_lehtinen%281%29

U.S. representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican Party standard-bearer, broke party ranks with a call for a change in the Pentagon's ban on openly gay members of the military. "We've tried the policy. I don't think it works. And we've spent a lot of money enforcing it," said the Miami Republican, a member of the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations. "People who've signed up to serve our country, we should be thanking them." Ros-Lehtinen is cosponsoring a bill, along with House Republicans Christopher Shays of Connecticut and Jim Kolbe of Arizona and 70 Democrats, to repeal the 12-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" policy. It allows gays and lesbians to serve as long as they abstain from homosexual activity and do not disclose their sexual orientation. Ros-Lehtinen's district includes Key West, which has a large politically active gay population, and she has taken a leadership role on pro-gay legislation. Nearly 10,000 discharges have been ordered under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. A report released in February by the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimates the policy has cost the U.S. government nearly $200 million since 1993. An Army sergeant awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded in Iraq disclosed last week that he is gay, risking an early discharge. Sgt. Robert Stout, 23, said he has not encountered trouble from fellow soldiers and would like to stay if not for the policy that permits gay men and women to serve only if they keep their sexual orientation a secret. Ros-Lehtinen doesn't expect an easy or even quick win. "It's a process--a learning process. It takes a long time to get people to change their minds," she said. "I don't get frustrated." (AP)

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories