Three possible presidential candidates
are being urged to drop their calls to undo repeal of “Don't Ask,
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and
former Governors Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Mike Huckabee of
Arkansas have called for the reinstatement of the law that bans gay
and bisexual troops from serving openly.
Congress approved and President Barack
Obama signed into law a bill last year that ends the ban. But
implementation will not begin until 60 days after the president and
Pentagon leaders agree the military is ready for the change. At a
House hearing on Friday, military
leaders said they expect to implement repeal by summer's end.
In January, Pawlenty was the first
social conservative Republican to say that as president he would
fight for the law's return.
On the radio program of the American
Family Association's (AFA) Bryan Fischer, Pawlenty said he would sign
such a bill.
“I've been a public supporter of
maintaining 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and I would support reinstating
it as well,” Pawlenty said.
Huckabee backed the idea last month.
“I would – because that's really
what the military wants. There's been some talk that the military is
fine with having same-sex orientation people,” he told the AFA's
One News Now. “But if you really surveyed the combat
troops, that is not at all the case.”
The former Baptist minister added that
soldiers, not politicians, should decide the issue.
“I don't think that these are
decisions that politicians should make,” he said. “These are
decisions that soldiers should make. And when the soldiers in the
foxholes make the decisions, they choose something different – and
we should listen to them.”
Days later, on Fischer's program, Haley
Barbour joined the chorus, saying that an “amorous mindset” would
interfere with critical decision making on the battlefield.
“When you're under fire and people
are living and dying of split-second decisions you don't need any
kind of amorous mindset that can affect saving people's lives and
killing bad guys,” Barbour told his host. “You look at the data
and it is the foot soldier that is the person who is out there, boots
on the ground, who was most against this.”
letters to the likely candidates, the Servicemembers Legal
Defense Network (SLDN), the largest group that lobbied for repeal of
the law, urged them to abandon their calls.
“Perhaps since you were not in
Congress during the past few years, you did not follow the debate
about whether to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'” wrote Aubrey
Sarvis, executive director of SLDN. “This isn't – and never has
been – a partisan political issue. Many Republicans in the Senate
and House voted for repeal last year. Without them, the legislation
would not have been enacted.”
“And perhaps you did not review the
report prepared by the Pentagon working group after its exhaustive
nine-month study, a report which found no barriers to repeal.”
“We shouldn't be debating whether or
not to turn back the clock on an issue that has already been decided
by the Congress, the President, and the American people,” Sarvis
concluded. “We should be accelerating the timeline for
certification and full repeal and working toward full equality for
all LGBT service members.”