House Hears About Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – and from Rep. Gohmert

Rep. Murphy (D-PA)

Rep. Murphy (D-PA)

Rep. Patrick Murphy (D- PA, 8th Dist, House site) is leading a special order speeches hour on the House floor to discuss the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  He says there are three main reasons that we need the repeal:

  1. It is “vital” to national security that we repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
  2. It is “doing right by our taxpayers.”  $1.3 billion has been spent to throw these people out of the military.
  3. DADT goes against “the very fabric of what makes our country the greatest country on Earth”: the fact that we are all created equal.

There are 176 co-sponsors.

One of these people is the highest-ranking military servicemembers in Congress, according to Murphy, Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN, 1st Dist.).

Walz is a teacher speaking in support of ending the “archaic and outdated” policy.  He told Rep. Murphy, “I’ll be with you every step of the way.”

Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA, 23rd Dist.) is a long-time LGBT equality advocate.  DADT is discriminatory, and it is “way past time” to end it.  The Palm Center is located in Capps’ district, and she’s now discussing Nathaniel Frank and his book, which I’ve discussed previously, Unfriendly Fire.

Capps says that she hopes for Congress to pass the Military Readiness Enhancement Act and send it to the President’s desk soon.

Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO, 2nd Dist.), who I earlier talked to about LGBT issues, is up.  Polis is talking about “The Efficacy of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’” by Col. Prakash, a report that was discussed recently in The New York Times.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA, 6th Dist.) is up.  DADT was passed during her freshman term in Congress, and she is ready for it to be repealed.

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL, 5th Dist.) is talking about Lee Reinhardt and Sandy Tsao, two individuals who were gay or lesbian and served in the U.S. military.  Sandy, Quigley said, wrote that “one of the seven Army values is integrity.”  Because she was a lesbian, however, she was discharged from the military.

Rep. Murphy talks about a servicemember who considered committing suicide because of how closeted servicemembers are shut off from their families due to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  The soldier wrote of “the isolation that was imposed on me as a result of” DADT.  DADT, he wrote, “shackles the hands of leaders like me” who want to help their fellow soldiers.

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME, 1st Dist.) is a freshman in Congress, and she says that “nothing seems fair and reasonable about this policy.”  She rocked the House.

Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-NY, 24th Dist.) says DADT “is a blemish on our country.”  He thanks Rep. Murphy for his leadership on DADT, as have many others.

Murphy introduces “one of the true champions of equality in this Congress,” Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI, 2nd Dist.).

Baldwin notes that DADT deprives the military of the service of those discharged.  “This is just indefensible.”  She goes on to discuss the case of Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach.

Interesting . . . Lt. Dan Choi was at West Point while Murphy was teaching Constitutional Law there.

Murphy raises former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs John Shalikashvili’s op-ed about his “Second Thoughts” about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Polis raises the fact that both former Rep. Bab Barr and former President Bill Clinton now support repeal of DADT.

* * * * *

Rep. Gohmert (R)

Rep. Gohmert (R-TX)

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX, 1st Dist.) is responding to the DADT hour.  He talked about how an enlisted soldier was telling him he was considering not re-enlisting because of the “social experimentation” of the military with Congress considering the repeal of DADT.

Gohmert goes on to talk about the whole “attaching hate crimes to the Defense Appropriations re-authorization” bit.

Some day, some court, he said, and “I hope this doesn’t offend,” is going to say, “If you’re oriented toward animals, then that’s not something that can be held against you. . . . toward corpses, toward children . . . .”

“Whatever you’re oriented to sexually,” you can’t have that used against you.

Gender identity, also is protected, he said, and “who knows what that some day will be interpreted to mean.”

The most recent number that we have for hate crime statistics is 2007 because, Gohmert said, “the number of hate crimes are being reduced over the last 20, 10 years.”

After a diatribe with which I did not have the patience to transcribe, he concludes the portion by saying that the hate crimes prevention bill will “limit religious moral teaching.”

He’s now reading from Romans.

It should also not be lost, that when we talk about protected classes, “every country that has adopted laws like this it has had an extremely chilling effect.”  It leads to economic instability, which led to “that little guy with a mustache.”  And, with Hitler, we have reached it all.

He’s now in a history of the Judeo-Christian background of our nation.  “Between a third and a half [of the Declaration of Independence or Articles of Confederation signers, I didn't catch which] were ordained Christian ministers.”  We’re on to Lincoln now.  We’re on to the civil rights movement and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Now, we’re back to the hate crimes bill.

Gohmert: “This is going to have a detrimental effect on the freedom to discuss” religious morality.  It will prevent preachers from “discussing” Romans.

“The majority wouldn’t let us amend . . . to restrict pedophilia, wouldn’t let us restrict necrophilia . . . they left it wide open” to define sexual orientation in any way.

“There was a reason Jeremiah cried when he fell for his country.”

“Mr. Speaker, I move we adjourn before we do any further damage.”

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About the Author

Chris Geidner is the award-winning senior political & legal reporter at BuzzFeed and has written for Metro Weekly, The Atlantic Online, The American Prospect, Advocate.com, Salon and other publications, as well as at his blog, Law Dork. He has appeared regularly on television commenting on current affairs, including MSNBC, PBS, HLN & Current. Prior to moving to D.C. in 2009, he served as an attorney on the senior staff at the Ohio Attorney General's Office and had earlier worked for a leading Columbus law firm. An extended biography can be found here, and you can follow him on Twitter.