Howard McKeon believes focus should now be on restoring military funding
California Congressman Howard ‘Buck’ McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said today (21 June) that he has no plans to try and reinstate the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy even if fell0w Republican Mitt Romney is elected to The White House.
‘We fought that fight,’ McKeon (pictured) said during an interview with reporters from various news outlets including the Associated Press. ‘That’s not something I would personally bring up.’
McKeon said even if Romney wins and the GOP recaptures a majority in the US Senate, there are more pressing matters to consider: restoring money to the military ‘to get the things that our warfighters need.’
But the congressman could not rule out other GOP lawmakers making an attempt to revive the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy which was enacted in 1993. Before DADT officially ended last fall, approximately 14,500 troops had been discharged under the policy.
In December 2010, President Barack Obama signed a bill repealing DADT and the US began the transition to an armed forces in which gay soldiers no longer need to conceal their sexual orientation in order to serve or fear being discharged.
Things have moved along quickly. Polls have shown little impact among military personnel since the repeal and last week, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta released a video celebrating gay pride and the contributions of LGBT troops.
‘The successful repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" proved to the nation that, just like the country we defend, we share different backgrounds, different values and different beliefs,’ Panetta said. ‘But together we form the greatest military force in the world.’
The official message was the first time the Department of Defense recognized Gay Pride Month.