by Jack Minor –
Following the Obama administration’s ramrodding through a repeal of the Revolutionary War ban on homosexuals serving in the military during a lame duck session of Congress, an Oklahoma lawmaker believes he has a way to partially restore the ban.
Mike Reynolds, a Republican in the Oklahoma House, plans to introduce HB 2195, which would require the Oklahoma National Guard to meet the eligibility standards that were in place on January 1, 2009.
The text of the bill says that, “No person ineligible to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States pursuant to 10 U.S.C., Section 654, and accompanying Department of Defense Regulations implementing and enforcing this provision as in effect on January 1, 2009, shall be eligible to serve in the National Guard.”
Sec. 654. Sec. 10 was the rule that prevented homosexuals from serving in the military.
Reynolds says the state is perfectly within its rights under the 10th Amendment to set its own standards for the National Guard irrespective of the regulations that apply to the regular military.
“The Oklahoma National Guard, of course, their commander-in-chief is the governor of the state of Oklahoma, not the president of the United States,” he explains. “and so it accomplishes two things: it … re-implements an important states’ rights issue and … it re-implements an important policy that was very valuable to the military.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma has opposed the bill, calling it “prejudicial legislation.”
Ryan Kiesel, executive director for the organization, said the law could jeopardize federal funding for the Guard. Interestingly, unlike other situations the group has opposed, Kiesel did not say the law was unconstitutional.
Reynolds, an air Force veteran, says he is not intimidated by what the ACLU or Obama administration thinks about the bill.
“I don’t think we ought to legislate based on a fear of what Barack Obama and his interpretation of the Constitution is.”
The bill has passed the second reading in the House and Reynolds says if it is successful there is a good likelihood it will pass muster with the Republican-controlled Senate and Republican governor.
Following the repeal of the ban there have been calls to reinstate it by veterans groups and military leaders.
The American Legion called for Congress to swiftly overturn the law.
In December, a year after the repeal was passed by Democrats in Congress, U.S. News and World Report reported that a study conducted by Armed Forces & Society revealed that over half of the military’s youngest officers were opposed to serving with homosexuals.
The poll conflicts with a report sent to Congress that claimed 70 percent of the troops had no problem with allowing “gays” to serve openly. In reality the poll revealed that only 16.7 percent of the troops were supportive of the repeal. The 70 percent number was arrived at by adding in 53.6 percent who felt it would have a neutral impact.