Chambliss: Gays in military ‘unacceptable risk’

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imageJust how much of a homophobic bigot is Saxby Chambliss, the senior senator from Georgia? Take a look at his comments Tuesday during a hearing on the military’s ban on openly gay soldiers.

He expressed concern that repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would cause a host of problems and “create unacceptable risk to the armed forces.”

Of course, everyone knows that there aren’t any gay men and lesbians currently in the military and that the institution enjoys such strong discipline and high standards today. Uh-huh.

But wait, there’s more from Chambliss.

Chambliss acknowledged that while the military enforces “restrictions on personal behavior that would not be acceptable in civilian society,” it “must maintain policies that exclude persons whose presence in the armed forces would create unacceptable risk to the armed forces’ high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion.”

“In my opinion,” he said, “the presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would very likely create an unacceptable risk to those high standards.”

And what is Chambliss so worried will happen if gays are allowed into the armed forces? That, of course, ignored the obvious question of whether the senator even realizes gay men and lesbians already serve in the military. Surely he knows the military kicked out 428 people under the policy in 2009.

But anyway, Chambliss is worried that openly gay soldiers will lead to what?

“Alcohol use, adultery, fraternization, and body art,” said Chambliss. “If we change this rule of ‘Don’t Ask, Dont Tell, what are we going to do with these other rules?”

We’ll allow Cynthia Tucker, the gay-friendly columnist for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, respond to that last quip:

As we all know, soldiers don’t currently drink or commit adultery or get tattoos, for heaven’s sake.

Chambliss received repeated deferments to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War. So he knows far less about good order and discipline than Adm Mike Mullen, who testified in the Senate Armed Service Committee today that gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly.

To no one’s surprise, Chambliss received a failing score on the latest Congressional scorecard from the Human Rights Campaign. What is surprising is that he received 20 points (out of 100). He notched that score for voting for the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief under President Bush.


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