Yuma, Arizona Mayor Al Krieger is being
criticized for calling gay troops “limp-wristed” and unfit for
service, local NBC affiliate KYMA reported.
In a Memorial Day speech at Desert Lawn
Cemetery, the Republican mayor spoke in favor of “Don't Ask, Don't
Tell,” the policy that bans gay troops from serving openly. “And
I cannot believe that a bunch of limp-wristed, lacey-drawed people
could do what those men have done in the past,” the Army veteran
“Apparently old prejudices die hard,”
openly gay Marine Eric Alva, the first service member injured in the
Iraq war, wrote at HRCBackStory.org.
“These hateful words are absolutely
inconsistent with the unbending physical and mental courage that I
encountered among all of the men and women with whom I served,
whether gay or straight,” he added.
Comparing himself to George Washington
and Abraham Lincoln, Krieger defended himself, saying those leaders
would have agreed with him.
“There is an issue currently in the
military with homosexuals serving on the battlefield and I think it's
going to be detrimental to men on the battlefield to have that
conflict with sexual preference,” Krieger said, then added that
America is at war and in need of “solid, strong men, not pacifists,
to fight those battles.”
Openly gay Army veteran Jarrod
Chlapowski called Krieger's comments “offensive.”
“It's deliberately offensive, an
inaccurate characterization of gay and lesbian service members that
do serve this country honorably everyday,” the 28-year-old
Krieger said he didn't mean to offend
anyone, saying he was just speaking from his heart.
“It wasn't a prepared speech, it came
from my heart and that's the way I feel about things. And some
people don't agree with the way I feel about things. And that's
fine, they don't have to.”