Virginia Legislator Seeks To Ban Gays From National Guard
In the wake of the repeal of the U.S. military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, an ultra-conservative state legislator in Virginia wants to ban gays from the Virginia National Guard:
Following this weekend’s vote by the Senate to allow gays to openly serve in the military, Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince WIlliam) said he is drafting a bill for the 2011 legislative session that would ban them from serving in the Virginia National Guard.
“This policy will weaken military recruitment and retention, and will increase pressure for a military draft,” Marshall said. “After 232 years of prohibiting active, open homosexuals from enlisting in our military, President Obama and a majority in Congress are conducting a social experiment with our troops and our national security…In countries where religions and cultures find homosexual acts immoral, the Obama administration’s repeal policy will work to the detriment of all American troops in securing local cooperation with our nation’s foreign policy goals.”
The Senate’s vote to repeal the 17-year-old federal ”don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy came a week after the House approved it. President Obama has said he will sign the bill.
Marshall, who is considering running for U.S. Senate in 2012, is one of the House’s most conservative members. He said Article 1, Section 8, Clause 16 of the Constitution gives Virginia the authority to uphold the ban by “reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.”
“The Constitution never would have been ratified if states were not reserved unqualified control of the militia, now called the National Guard,” he said.
That may be the case, but I cannot imagine something like this withstanding a court challenge, especially not in an era where the U.S. military now allows gays and lesbians to serve openly. Frankly, I don’t see this going very far in the legislature either because it’s not the kind of issue that GOP leaders in Richmond are going to want to touch. More likely than not, this is simply Marshall’s way of appealing to his base in advance of a run for the Senate in 2012.