We’ve received no response from Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s office to our weeks-old inquiry about whether she’ll support an amendment that would begin the process of repealing “don’t ask don’t tell.” But local activist Elizabeth Parker says she did receive a response from Hutchison’s office, and she’s forwarded it along to us.
In her response to Parker, Hutchison doesn’t say whether she’ll vote for or against the amendment, which is expected to arrive on the Senate floor this summer. But Hutchison does indicate she’s concerned that “a drastic change in the military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy could hurt morale, recruitment, retention, and overall combat readiness at a time when our armed forces need to maintain a strong presence at home and abroad.” Hutchison also says she wants to hear from “present and former leaders of our military how they expect this change in policy to impact the military.”
As we said before, considering her recent record on gay rights, we’re pretty sure she’ll join fellow Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn in voting against the amendment. But local gay veteran and DADT repeal advocate Dave Gainer has cautioned us before not to give up on Hutchison just yet. So once more, if you’d like to call her office about DADT repeal, the number is 202-224-5922.
Read Hutchison’s full letter to Parker after the jump.
Thank you for contacting me about the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy regarding homosexuals serving in our Armed Forces. I welcome your thoughts and comments.
Officials from the Department of Defense previously testified before Congress that the current policy has served the military well. However, in recent months, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has publicly stated his support for repealing the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy pending the results of an internal Pentagon review of the policy.
Our military has obligations around the world, including a surge in troop force as we intensify efforts to topple the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. I, along with many others, am concerned that a drastic change in the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy could hurt morale, recruitment, retention, and overall combat readiness at a time when our armed forces need to maintain a strong presence at home and abroad. I would like to hear from present and former leaders of our military how they expect this change in policy to impact the military.
On May 27, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 on a 234-194 vote. The amendment would repeal the relevant sections of the law 60 days after a study by the U.S. Department of Defense is completed, if the study indicates that repeal of the policy would not harm military effectiveness.
On the same day, the Senate Armed Services Committee advanced an identical measure in a 16-12 vote. The measure is to be included in the Senate version of the Defense Authorization Act. A final defense authorization bill must still come before each chamber of Congress for final passage, and it must be signed by the President before the law is repealed.
Please be assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind. I appreciate hearing from you, and I hope that you will not hesitate to keep in touch on any issue of concern to you.
Kay Bailey Hutchison
United States Senator