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Republican lawmaker urging end to `don't ask, don't tell' policy
Knight Ridder Newspapers ^ | 04/10/05 | STEVE ROTHAUS

Posted on 04/10/2005 1:21:43 PM PDT by Pikamax

Republican lawmaker urging end to `don't ask, don't tell' policy

BY STEVE ROTHAUS

Knight Ridder Newspapers

MIAMI - (KRT) - At odds with her party's leadership, Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida is urging the Pentagon to end ``don't ask, don't tell'' and allow gay men and lesbians to join and remain in the military.

``We've tried the policy. I don't think it works. And we've spent a lot of money enforcing it,'' said Ros-Lehtinen, a member of the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations, who became a co-sponsor of the bill on Tuesday.

``We investigate people. Bring them up on charges. Basically wreck their lives. ... People who've signed up to serve our country. We should be thanking them,'' she said.

Although her support won't change the law overnight, it represents a dramatic break with GOP leadership over a hot-button issue that has split the party and the nation.

Ros-Lehtinen, along with House Republicans Christopher Shays of Connecticut and Jim Kolbe of Arizona, joins 70 Democrats in support of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, introduced by Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass., last month to repeal the longtime gay ban.

``Don't ask, don't tell'' became law in 1993, a compromise after President Bill Clinton sought to relax military policy and allow gays to serve openly. The law, which easily passed in both the House and Senate, prohibits commanders and investigators from prying into a service member's sex life, but calls for military discharge if someone in the armed service acknowledges he or she is gay.

``It doesn't make any sense,'' Ros-Lehtinen said of the ban. ``There's no scientific evidence that sexual orientation has an effect on the ability to perform as a military officer or a buck private.''

For several years, Ros-Lehtinen has taken a leadership role in backing pro-gay legislation. She has co-sponsored or supported:

_A federal hate-crimes act.

_A bill that protects gays from federal employment discrimination.

_Laws that increased funding for HIV/AIDS prevention.

Nearly 10,000 men and women have been discharged under ``don't ask, don't tell,'' which has cost the U.S. government more than $200 million to enforce since passage in 1993, according to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network , a Washington gay-rights group.

Last week, an Army sergeant who was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded in Iraq publicly disclosed his homosexuality. He risks going to jail and an early discharge from the service.

``I know a ton of gay men that would be more than willing to stay in the Army if they could just be open,'' Sgt. Robert Stout, 23, told The Associated Press. ``But if we have to stay here and hide our lives all the time, it's just not worth it.''

Ros-Lehtinen, 52, said the military ``should get the best men and women regardless of their sexual orientation.''

``It doesn't seem the best military tradition to exclude people because of their sexual orientation,'' she said. ``They can serve with as much distinction as anyone else.''

Ros-Lehtinen's husband, former acting U.S. Attorney Dexter Lehtinen, 59, was awarded a Purple Heart for severe facial injuries he received during Army combat in Vietnam. And her stepson, Douglas Lehtinen, 28, is a Marine officer scheduled to be deployed this summer to Iraq.

``We've had these discussions in our family,'' Ros-Lehtinen said. ``Douglas would have no problem serving alongside anyone who's capable.''

``In Iraq and Afghanistan we are fighting alongside coalition forces that have in them gay men and women,'' Ros-Lehtinen said. ``England is actively recruiting gay men and women to join their armed forces.''

Ros-Lehtinen said she has heard the arguments against allowing them to serve (straight men not wanting to shower with gay men, etc.) and that they're ``ludicrous.''

``It's the same kind of talk we heard about women serving in the military and African Americans,'' she said.

Congressmen Alcee L. Hastings, D-Fla., and Robert Wexler, D-Fla., also are co-sponsors of lifting the gay ban.

``If you're in the military, the only concern should be if you shoot straight - not if you are straight,'' Hastings said.

The bill - which has no companion legislation in the Senate - has a long way to go before becoming law. First, it needs to get out of committee.

``The odds are very small, unless the top military brass would embrace it,'' Wexler said. ``When was the last time it snowed in South Florida?''

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, has consistently voted against gay-rights issues, according to Human Rights Campaign, a pro-gay Washington group that ranks lawmakers on a scale of 0 to 100, 100 being the highest level of support.

Hunter ranks 0; Ros-Lehtinen ranks 86, according to HRC's 2004 report.

Two years ago, HRC sent Ros-Lehtinen a thank-you note for ``the totality of her record, not just one vote.''

Ros-Lehtinen ``has really taken a leadership issue on repealing the military's gay ban among Republicans,'' said Steve Ralls, communications director for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

``Her endorsement, her sponsorship of the bill, is going to lead a lot of other moderate Republicans in the House to come on board,'' he said.

Perhaps, but it's unlikely Ros-Lehtinen will sway conservative GOP leaders including House Speaker Tom DeLay.

``The other side has been systematically, over time, desensitizing the American people into thinking that this is an acceptable lifestyle. It is not acceptable,'' DeLay told The Miami Herald in a 1998 discussion about gay rights. ``It is wrong. It is dangerous. It destroys families. It destroys people.''

Ros-Lehtinen says she will staunchly support the repeal until it happens.

``It's a process - a learning process. It takes a long time to get people to change their minds. I don't get frustrated. If I did, I wouldn't keep talking about the Cuban embargo every day.''


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 109th; dod; dontaskdonttell; homosexualagenda; ileanaroslehtinen; kolbe; rinos; roslehtinen; shays

1 posted on 04/10/2005 1:21:43 PM PDT by Pikamax
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To: Pikamax

Given what's come out of FL lately, anything political from the FL politicians should be viewed with a jaundice eye.


2 posted on 04/10/2005 1:23:39 PM PDT by lilylangtree (Veni, Vidi, Vici)
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To: Pikamax
Ros-Lehtinen, along with House Republicans Christopher Shays of Connecticut and Jim Kolbe of Arizona

Lets, see. The last two are gay, who wants to bet that Ros-Lehtinen is a lesbian?

3 posted on 04/10/2005 1:23:58 PM PDT by Cowboy Bob (Question Liberalism)
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To: Pikamax

Wouldn't America's enemies love homosexuals to serve in the military? Actually, maybe it isn't such a bad idea. They don't reproduce.


4 posted on 04/10/2005 1:46:59 PM PDT by mlc9852
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To: Cowboy Bob

When will the Congress stop worrying about QUEERS and start worrying about ILLEGAL MEXICANS ????


5 posted on 04/10/2005 1:47:38 PM PDT by EagleUSA (Q)
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To: Pikamax

whatta load


6 posted on 04/10/2005 1:53:42 PM PDT by Texas_Jarhead (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1366853/)
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To: Pikamax
I bet those new stryker vehicles would look positively lovely in new pastel colors.
How many gay men/women would stay/join vs how many straight soldiers would leave because of this decision. The military is not a place to play social engineering games. I am pretty sure the military's job is to make noise, break things, and hurt people. How would this affect cohesion and camaraderie? God bless the gays serving but there are some jobs some people aren't meant for.
7 posted on 04/10/2005 1:53:56 PM PDT by bbenton
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To: Pikamax

Clearly these moronic twerps never had to share a shower with a raging queer.


8 posted on 04/10/2005 2:04:18 PM PDT by GregoryFul (Liberals are pathological liars. They admire liars, they regale in lies, they spread lies.)
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To: EagleUSA
When will the Congress stop worrying about QUEERS and start worrying about ILLEGAL MEXICANS ????

Both are a problem. One spells the end of our military as we know it. The other spells the end of our country as we know it.

Of course, if the military ends as we know it, so will our country.

9 posted on 04/10/2005 2:07:33 PM PDT by HighFlier
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To: Pikamax
My flame suit is on, and I am ready to be persuaded to change my mind, but I think this is one policy that may be ready to be tweaked. I am not 100% convinced that this policy (don't ask, don't tell) is the best we can do.

First of all, I will defer to active duty military on my opinion, but I think that when the military is kicking out interpreters (which we desperately need at this time) just because they are gay, that is a problem. I am for extremely strict sexual harassment guidelines (heterosexual and homosexual), and I can see the ban on homosexuals in a Navy, at sea, situation, but let's face it, even homosexuals are Patriotic Americans, and if they truly want to serve, why are we turning them away?

As I said, I am ready to be persuaded, but I spoke to my husband about this (former infantry in US Army), and he reluctantly agrees. Especially after the Air Force Academy scandals, what's the difference between sexually charged cadets going after females or males. Shouldn't we just punish wrong doers, and accept the good ones with praise, regardless of their sexual orientation?

10 posted on 04/10/2005 2:17:13 PM PDT by codercpc
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To: Pikamax

The Don't ask don't tell policy never contravened the Law
which remains Homosexual behavior is Not consistent with military service. That being said I nver had any problems
serving alongside homosexuals.When they got stupid -or drunk
and made the mistake of trying to hit on me-- I beat the
fear of God into them. The Manuel for COurts -Martial
United States 1984(1994 edition ) is essentially what it was
when I was on active duty.AndHomosexual behavior is still a
freaking crime. (Articles 120 & 125. Are essentailly as they were when I was active duty.)


11 posted on 04/10/2005 2:31:52 PM PDT by StonyBurk
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To: Pikamax
I'm sick of faggots and their "backers". With "pubs" like these, who needs "dems"?

Sgt. Robert Stout, 23, told The Associated Press. ``But if we have to stay here and hide our lives all the time, it's just not worth it.''

How long before this "bonedancer with Mr. Sphincter" is treated to a code red?

FMCDH(BITS)

12 posted on 04/10/2005 2:34:02 PM PDT by nothingnew (I fear for my Republic due to marxist influence in our government. Open eyes/see)
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To: Cowboy Bob
Evidently these three have never heard of soldier to soldier transfusions on the battle field.

There is a good reason for not allowing practicing homosexuals to serve in the military.

13 posted on 04/10/2005 2:43:38 PM PDT by OldFriend (MAJOR TAMMY DUCKWORTH.....INSPIRATIONAL)
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To: codercpc

As your husband if we would like a battle field transfusion from a practicing homosexual.


14 posted on 04/10/2005 2:44:47 PM PDT by OldFriend (MAJOR TAMMY DUCKWORTH.....INSPIRATIONAL)
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To: Pikamax
Republican lawmaker urging end to `don't ask, don't tell' policy

When I read the title I assumed some Republicans wanted to end don't ask - don't tell and go back to the old system of incarcerating homosexuals in the military. I'd be all for that. Clinton gave us DADT. All through the Clinton administration I read stories about the military being unable to meet recruitment quotas, and it continues today.

15 posted on 04/10/2005 2:50:19 PM PDT by Once-Ler ("They call me 'The Pork King,' they don't know how much I enjoy it." - Sen. Robert Byrd)
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To: OldFriend
Although you may have a point, I think that became a moot point with Don't Ask Don't Tell. I also know that many of the young recruits are heavy drinkers, which increases their chances of having Hepatitis C, a much bigger short term problem than HIV. HIV is controlled with meds, Acute Hep C is Hell.

There are many other concerns of blood born illnesses, besides HIV, that in the end I would take an alive HIV carrier (if my husband ever needed an in battle transfusion) than a dead husband. As someone who has worked in the health care field for 15 years, I can guarantee I am much more at risk than he is.

16 posted on 04/10/2005 2:54:28 PM PDT by codercpc
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To: codercpc

I prefer to limit my risks.......


17 posted on 04/10/2005 2:58:23 PM PDT by OldFriend (MAJOR TAMMY DUCKWORTH.....INSPIRATIONAL)
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To: Once-Ler

!Gracias Ileana! No te preocupes. Los Cubanos en Miami siempre te apoyan. Como antes, tu siempre enseñas que el partido Republicanao no es racista ni hipocrita. Ahora algunos fanaticos no le van a gustar lo que tu propone. Que vidas mas tristes tienen las personas que sieran sus mentes a cambios.


18 posted on 04/10/2005 3:03:02 PM PDT by FreeManWhoCan (“I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. I am not a number!")
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To: codercpc
I think that when the military is kicking out interpreters (which we desperately need at this time) just because they are gay, that is a problem.

What do you think happened in those instances? A bunch of Arabic-speaking interpreters outed themselves and got discharged from the military when we needed them to fight against Muslim extremists. I don't know the answer but the options that present themselves aren't pretty.

19 posted on 04/10/2005 3:04:09 PM PDT by JohnnyZ (“When you’re hungry, you eat; when you’re a frog, you leap; if you’re scared, get a dog.”)
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To: OldFriend
Nothing wrong with that, in fact as I said in my original post, I am not 100% convinced of my own view (kind of on the fence), but you did bring up an excellent point, something I hadn't thought of, but I bet if you asked your wife (if your married), she would agree with me, she would prefer an HIV positive husband (remember now a days you can live for decades with the HIV virus before getting AIDS), to a dead husband.

What if they limited homosexuals to certain jobs in the military (intelligence, etc.) would you be any more inclined to agree with me? I have more problems with females being in the battlefield, and close quarter situations than I do homosexuals. Although I may be the exception to the rule, I happen to know a few lesbians, and none have ever come on to me, I only wish I could say that about all the heterosexual men I know :>

20 posted on 04/10/2005 3:06:23 PM PDT by codercpc
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To: Cowboy Bob

she must feel the cuban vote is less important than the southbeach vote.

Could it be she feels threatened by wasserman shults who is gunning for a USELESS mass transit system (light rail) into broward county. (pork! pork! pork!) Yet after all the hateful crap after terri schiavo she will probably get the $$$.

She may think she is secure because she can appear on spanish tv without competition.


21 posted on 04/10/2005 3:07:17 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE!)
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To: JohnnyZ
Although I am not 100% sure of the ban on homosexuals in the military, I am 100% sure that they should ban the Muslims at this time!
22 posted on 04/10/2005 3:08:16 PM PDT by codercpc
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To: FreeManWhoCan

english?


23 posted on 04/10/2005 3:11:36 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE!)
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Comment #24 Removed by Moderator

Comment #25 Removed by Moderator

To: codercpc
if they truly want to serve, why are we turning them away?

If they truly want to serve they are welcome to under Don't Ask Don't Tell. On the other hand, if proclaiming their lust for anal sex to the world is more important to them than serving their country, can you really consider that "truly wanting to serve"?

26 posted on 04/10/2005 3:15:59 PM PDT by JohnnyZ (“When you’re hungry, you eat; when you’re a frog, you leap; if you’re scared, get a dog.”)
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To: codercpc

What is the point of this person using Spanish in an English forum?

Yo tambien hablo EspaNol, idioata! But I respect the fact 99.9% of us use English here. Be polite "maricon."

(He,it, whatever, is in favor on ending the policy "dont ask don't tell).


27 posted on 04/10/2005 3:18:29 PM PDT by ElPatriota (let's not forget, we are all still friends despite our differences)
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To: FreeManWhoCan

Sorry, I don't speak Spanish.


28 posted on 04/10/2005 3:19:51 PM PDT by Once-Ler ("They call me 'The Pork King,' they don't know how much I enjoy it." - Sen. Robert Byrd)
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To: Pikamax

The ancient Greeks allowed this IIRC. I think there was even an effort made to assign boyfriends to the same units.

If we had all gay units and they seriesly kicked some Islamist butt, that ought to humiliate them permanently. That is, if they didn't enjoy it, instead.


29 posted on 04/10/2005 3:21:31 PM PDT by Sam Cree (Democrats are herd animals)
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To: EagleUSA
...``I know a ton of gay men that would be more than willing to stay in the Army if they could just be open,'' Sgt. Robert Stout, 23, told The Associated Press. ``But if we have to stay here and hide our lives all the time, it's just not worth it.''

WHO wanted them in the army to begin with? This is anooooooooooooother attempt by the homexeusual agenda, to cancerize another important institution.

Let them try, we will stop them.

30 posted on 04/10/2005 3:25:50 PM PDT by ElPatriota (let's not forget, we are all still friends despite our differences)
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To: Sam Cree
If we had all gay units .... and sent them on suicide missions, I think I could support that.
31 posted on 04/10/2005 3:35:26 PM PDT by JohnnyZ (“When you’re hungry, you eat; when you’re a frog, you leap; if you’re scared, get a dog.”)
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To: Pikamax

Well, if you're gonna let KNOWN homosexuals lather up in the showers with heterosexuals, there is no justifiable reason for not letting the heterosexual men lather up with the heterosexual women (wives, mothers, daughters).

That integration of everybody would also apply to bathrooms, sleeping areas, etc.

And, of course, lesbians won't have any justification for arguing that they don't want to share these locations/facilities with heterosexual men either.

It really looks like a great plan for improving the quality and effectiveness of the military.

Not!


32 posted on 04/10/2005 4:36:35 PM PDT by Col Freeper (Never argue with an idiot - - it's a useless activity and the leftist just enjoys it.)
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To: Pikamax
"We've tried the policy. I don't think it works. And we've spent a lot of money enforcing it,"

?? Were homosexuals paid to keep their mouths shut about their perverted lifestyles?

33 posted on 04/10/2005 4:39:22 PM PDT by k2blader (Immorality bites.)
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Comment #34 Removed by Moderator

To: Javelina

You joined the military? Army, Navy, Marines....what?


35 posted on 04/10/2005 5:18:04 PM PDT by Godebert
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Comment #36 Removed by Moderator

To: Javelina

Not too many liberals in the Corps. It should be interesting for you.


37 posted on 04/10/2005 5:23:33 PM PDT by Godebert
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Comment #38 Removed by Moderator

To: codercpc

I agree with you.


39 posted on 04/10/2005 5:25:27 PM PDT by mysterio
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To: Pikamax
Ain't gonna' happen. Send this Republican in sheep's' clothing to a bath house. There's no reason to change policy, unless we make it tougher.
40 posted on 04/10/2005 5:28:32 PM PDT by ExtremeUnction
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To: Pikamax
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is a political paradox. She is a Cuban-American Woman Republican who is pro-open borders, pro-gay, pro-gun control, but very pro-life. Her portfolio of political stands hinders her ability to create a cohesive coalition. It is amazing that she could keeping on winning re-election.
41 posted on 04/10/2005 6:12:17 PM PDT by Kuksool
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To: longtermmemmory

That was Cuban Spanish. Welcome to America.


42 posted on 04/10/2005 7:21:36 PM PDT by FreeManWhoCan (“I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. I am not a number!")
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To: Once-Ler

Sin problema.


43 posted on 04/10/2005 7:22:17 PM PDT by FreeManWhoCan (“I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. I am not a number!")
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To: Pikamax

Send this bimbo dyke back to Castro's Cuber He knew how to
prevent AIDs. Why so many American politicians are so intent upon sodomizing America is something makes me very ill.This Republicrat -is IGNORANT of the US Military-
IGNORANT of homosexuality-- And like my peers use dot say
"If you weren't there --Shut the F--- UP.The military is not some glorious social experiment. I weary of mere politicians who use it as such.


44 posted on 04/10/2005 7:45:28 PM PDT by StonyBurk
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To: nothingnew
How long before this "bonedancer with Mr. Sphincter" is treated to a code red?

What's a code red?

45 posted on 04/10/2005 8:01:26 PM PDT by Sandy
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To: Javelina

Thank You for your service!!!


46 posted on 04/11/2005 2:59:34 AM PDT by codercpc
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