An Oklahoma lawmaker is hoping to again ban gay and lesbian service members from serving in that state’s National Guard.
Republican State Representative Mike Reynold has introduced a bill to amend the existing state law that allows all US citizens to serve in the Guard to in future bar gays and lesbians.
This would effectively reintroduce the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ ban on gay and lesbian military personnel, that was repealed by the Obama administration in September last year, into Oklahoma’s Guard.
America’s largest LGBT rights group, the Human Rights Campaign, condemned the legislation, saying that it was in fact a “more extreme version of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ (DADT) law”.
It noted that the bill goes beyond the discrimination contained in the now-repealed DADT, and allows government officials to directly question someone about their sexual orientation – essentially removing the “Don’t Ask” component contained in DADT.
“Since repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ last year, military leaders have testified that our nation’s military is stronger,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.
“It’s surprising that an Air Force veteran like Representative Reynolds would disagree with our nation’s military leaders and seek to weaken Oklahoma’s National Guard by introducing this legislation. This legislation serves no purpose but to prevent qualified individuals from serving their country and their state.”
The National Guard is an around 467,587 strong reserve military force that is divided into units stationed in each of the 50 states.
If the bill were to become law, Oklahoma would join countries like China, Iran, Syria, North Korea and Pakistan in prohibiting gays and lesbians from serving their country.