by Max Brantley
An equivocal comment by Sen. Mark Pryor prompted my followup question to his office on my continuing effort to find where the Arkansas congressional delegation stands on don't-ask-don't-tell: Do they favor a vote to repeal discrimination in the military workplace or not? (The compromise calls for a repeal of the law but delays implementation, maybe forever, until the Pentagon reviews the impact and makes a recommendation for implementation.)
SENATE MARK PRYOR: A spokesman said:
He’ll vote NO if there is a vote before the report is issued. We’ve made a commitment to hear from our servicemen and women before a new policy was implemented and Senator Pryor is going to honor that commitment.
He further cites opposition by some of the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but fails to note the chairman favors repeal.
The answer is a craven waffle. If he believes the military should determine who may be legally discriminated and who may not, that's his decision. But the forced closeting of gays people shouldn't be codified in U.S. law and a federal appeals court has already said the policy is unconstitutional.
ROSS AND BERRY: Still crickets, though I'm promised a response from Ross. Berry, what does he care about but getting his former aide elected to Congress. Justice? Equity? Nah. He proved that on health care.
UPDATE II: The repeal passed the House. Vic Snyder voted for it. The other Arkansas congressmen -- Mike Ross, Marion Berry and John Boozman -- voted to continue to discriminate against gay patriots.
Ross used some of the same script Pryor employed. He wants to wait for the military. An Iraqi veteran sponsored the repeal, of course, and it's endorsed by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Ross prefers guidance from the bigots of the military. He flatly prefers to keep the policy, whiich he says is "working." If, by working, you mean the U.S. has tossed 13,000 valuable troops from armed service because somebody snitched on their personal life, well, yes, that's "working." Ross favors discrimination against gay people on account of their essential being. It matters not a bit how competent and valuable they might be or how separate their sexual identity might be from their workplace. He should be ashamed. But Mike Ross knows no shame. Give me Nancy Pelosi.
“I think the current Clinton policy is working and should not be changed. The Pentagon is also conducting a formal review of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law and its impact on our troops. Before Congress acts on this issue, we must let the Pentagon complete its study and reach an agreement among military leadership whether a change is necessary. Just this week, the chiefs of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps each asked Congress not to repeal the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law at this time.”