It won't happen in Virginia if Del. Bob Marshall, (R-Prince William) has his way. He is drafting a bill for the 2011 legislative session that would ban gays from serving in the Virginia National Guard, according to the Washington Post.
"This policy will weaken military recruitment and retention, and will increase pressure for a military draft,'' Marshall told the Post. "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."
But can Virginia set its own standards for the National Guard? Marshall cites constitutional backing for his argument.
"President Obama and a majority in Congress are conducting a social experiment with our troops and our national security while Americans in uniform are fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and, indeed, might be called into battle in Korea," Marshall told the Washington Times. "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."
However, Claire Guthrie Gastanaga, general and legislative counsel for Equality Virginia, which advocates for gay rights, told the Post that the National Guard is subject to the same rules as other federal military units.
"It is a shame that Delegate Marshall would dishonor the brave men and women serving in our National Guard by seeking to make political points at their expense and waste the time of his colleagues in the Virginia General Assembly, who have pressing matters to attend to, like balancing the budget and finding solutions to the traffic problems that are the real and present concern of his constituents," she told the Times.
Additional from the WaPo article:
"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."
So, if the discipline prescribed by Congress includes allowing gays to serve openly, what exactly does his argument have to stand on? (Aside from douchbaggery and hatred, obvs) (And someone correct me if I'm wrong, I'm no Constitutional scholar.)
Also, Virginia, please stop making me embarassed to live there. Sigh.