CO Sen: Ken Buck opposes repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ likens homosexuality to a ‘lifestyle choice’
The Colorado Springs Gazette and KOAA hosted a U.S. Senate debate Friday between Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet and Republican Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck. During the debate, Buck called being gay a “lifestyle choice” and said the military should be as “homogeneous as possible,” when asked about whether he supported the U.S. military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, which prohibits gay servicemen and women from revealing their sexual orientation.
Here’s his full quote:
I do not support the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I think it is a policy that makes a lot of sense. It’s not whether an individual is gay can serve in the military, the question is whether that individual can be openly gay in the military. It’s one thing to deny someone access to the military and to a career in the military, it’s another thing to — for morale purposes and other purposes — make sure that we are as homogeneous as possible in the military in moving towards the common goal of the security and the military action, as opposed to the distractions that are caused by allowing lifestyle choices to become part of the discussion.
The American Psychological Association — nor any mainstream psychological organizations — consider homosexuality to be a choice.
R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, told TAI in an e-mail, “As a Captain in the United States Army and a veteran of the Iraq campaign, I know that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ does nothing to benefit the mission of the United States military. It is a distraction and hindrance to servicemember integrity, troop readiness, national security and is a waste of tax revenue.” He added, “For 17 years, the United States has unnecessarily lost valuable human and financial capital to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Further, it is the Uniform Code of Military Justice which enables the miliary (sic) to operate in a standard and homogeneous way, not the unfair and unbalanced and unconstitutional ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ statute.”
Buck’s opponent, Sen. Michael Bennet, supports repealing the policy.
The Senate is scheduled to vote on the policy Tuesday as part of a defense authorization bill. It’s unclear whether Senate Democrats have the votes to overcome a Republican filibuster threat on the bill, as Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) opposes voting on the policy before a study is completed, and Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) — who have signaled support for ending the policy — have not announced how they will vote.
If both both chambers pass the bill and President Obama signs it, then the policy’s fate lies in the hands of a Pentagon certification study — slated to be completed by year’s end — this is to gauge the military’s readiness for an end to the policy. A May CNN poll showed that 78 percent of Americans support repealing the policy.
(Photo Credit: The Colorado Independent)