I just looked outside. The sky is not falling. And if you don't subscribe to the notion that the Mayans predicted the end of the world on Dec. 21, things appear to be chugging right along as they always have.
But if you asked outgoing U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), the recent repeal of the military's “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy, in addition to recent marriage victories achieved in the last election, prove the world is surely in its last days.
You remember Akin. He's the guy that tried to justify his position on abortion by saying that women who are legitimately raped have a way of shutting down their body to prevent pregnancy. That statement caused him to lose any credibility in his race for U.S. Senate against incumbent Claire McCaskill.
Meghan McCain, the daughter of Sen. John McCain, will speak at Kennesaw State University on March 14 and will discuss gay marriage among other issues. She will also speak at Columbus State University on March 15.
Despite her father's opposition to gay marriage and his strenuous opposition to the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," McCain has risen as a star within the Republican Party as one of the few outspoken GOPers to support marriage equality.
The Pentagon released its highly anticipated report on the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy Nov. 30 and just two days later, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a two-day hearing on the report’s findings.
The report found that as much as 70 percent of service members would consider allowing openly gay and lesbian soldiers to be “positive” or have “no impact” on morale and unit cohesion.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and Gen. Carter Ham, who co-chaired the Pentagon’s Working Group on the report, testified on the first day of the hearing. All three said that Congress should act to repeal the policy during the current lame-duck session.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) cast doubt on a lame-duck repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
When asked by host David Gregory whether or not the Senate will vote to repeal the policy in light of a recent Pentagon report stating as much as 70 percent of military servicemembers believed repeal would be positive or have no impact on the military’s morale, McConnell said that he favored Sen. John McCain’s (R-Az.) view on the issue and would “follow his lead.”
“People are talking like that, that is the only issue,” McConnell said. “That defense bill also has abortions in military hospitals. Once you get on the defense bill, it typically takes two weeks. I don't see how we can possibly finish the Defense Authorization Bill, a two-week bill, wholly aside from these controversial items that are in it — there are a whole lot of other things in it — before the end of the year.”
The Senate Armed Services Committee held a second day of testimony on the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in light of a recent Pentagon report that suggests servicemembers were mostly positive or neutral to a repeal of the policy.
The leaders of each branch of the military stated that the policy could be repealed with limited disruption to military readiness and unit cohesion.
Each of the service chiefs suggested that the military would be able to handle a repeal, though several disagreed on the timing. Gen. Norton Schwartz, Chief of Staff for the Air Force, suggested deferring repeal in 2012, though he acknowledged the Air Force could handle a repeal with limited risk.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham addressed the possible lame-duck congressional repeal of the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy this weekend on Fox News Sunday.
Graham insisted that the required number of votes to break a Senate filibuster were not in place, especially on the Republican side of the aisle.
He also said the motivation for repeal was for political gain.
“The question that was asked of our military members is how would you implement ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ once it's repealed,” Graham told host Chris Wallace. “They didn't ask the question, ‘Should it be repealed?’ This is a political promise made by Sen. Obama when he was running for president.”
The Senate Armed Services Committee will hear testimony regarding a Pentagon study on the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on Dec. 2 and 3.
According to the Armed Services Committee website, the session will feature the full committee.
Scheduled to testify on Dec. 2 are Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and General Carter Ham (co-chair of the Review Working Group).
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Nov. 22 said he’s unsure whether the results of the Pentagon study on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will move the four service chiefs to support an end to the law as he suggested that unanimous support among the military leaders won’t be necessary for moving forward.
Asked by the Washington Blade, an LGBT newspaper, whether President Obama anticipates that the service chiefs will favor repeal following the completion of the Pentagon report, Gibbs said he doesn’t “want to presume” where they would stand after the study is finished, noting the president hasn’t yet seen it.
“I think the service chiefs as I understand it are meeting with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the secretary as we get closer to this report coming out in order to discuss where they are based on that survey,” Gibbs said. “The president has not yet seen that survey, so I don’t want to presume whether based on those results that would change their opinions on it.”