Thursday, February 3, 2011

Effort to keep DADT in Va. National Guard fails.

The state seal of Virginia. Bigotry just got a lot more expensive. A Virginia House of Delegates committee voted down legislation to retain Don't Ask, Don't Tell in the Virginia National Guard on Wednesday, not because it's discriminatory, but because it would cost the commonwealth $200 million to do it.

Via the Washington Post:
Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) argued the Virginia National Guard should continue to bar gays and lesbians from serving openly, despite a Congressional vote to repeal the policy that has barred their open service at the national level.

The Defense Department is working to formulate regulations to enact the Congressional action and President Obama has said the policy will be repealed before the end of the year.

Among those speaking on Marshall's behalf were a retired Marine brigadier general who commanded a battalion in Vietnam and Herb Titus, a professor who Marshall noted several times taught Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) in law school. (Campaign flashback--Titus served as chairman of a three-member group that supervised the writing of McDonnell's thesis.)

Only two members of the Republican-led committee supported the measure--Del. Joseph P. Johnson Jr. (D-Washington) and Del. Lacey E. Putney (I-Bedford).
Del. Bill Janis (R-Goochland) argued that though, as a Navy veteran, he opposes the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, it would create a "management and disciplinary nightmare" for field officers if Virginia National Guard members served under different rules than the rest of the military. He noted guardsmen frequently serve in units overseas alongside members of other state guards and the U.S. military.

Virginia Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli (R) has also written that the federal government could withhold more than $200 million in funding for Virginia's National Guard if the state bucked federal policy, a concern cited by several committee members. McDonnell has said he believes Virginia should follow federal policy.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell opposed the bill saying it would create two sets of military standards which would be problematic for Virginia Guardsmen serving alongside US troops. 

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