Oklahoma lawmaker pushes for gay ban in National Guard
Oklahoma Rep. Mike Reynolds (R) has proposed legislation to reinstate the military’s controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the state’s National Guard, according to The Tulsa World.
The policy, which prohibited openly gay members from serving in the military, came to an end in September of 2011. An estimated 14,000 soldiers were expelled from the military during the rule’s 18-year enactment.
“Since repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ last year, military leaders have testified that our nation’s military is stronger,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “It’s surprising that an Air Force veteran like Representative Reynolds would disagree with our nation’s military leaders and seek to weaken Oklahoma’s National Guard by introducing this legislation. This legislation serves no purpose but to prevent qualified individuals from serving their country and their state.”
Reynolds’ legislation would go even further than “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” It would not only prohibit openly gay members from serving in the Oklahoma National Guard, it would also allow government officials to directly question someone about their sexual orientation.
“Mike Reynolds has a long-standing history of representing fringe views that rarely have the best interests of all Oklahomans at heart,” said Laura Belmonte, chair of The Equality Network. “This legislation is demoralizing to Oklahoma’s LGBT community and our supporters, and it sends a message that it is acceptable to discriminate against people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. At a time of growing momentum for equality at the national level, this legislation will turn back the clock on advancements at the state-level.”