Gov. Bob McDonnell wants to see the Virginia National Guard adhere to the same rules as the Department of Defense with respect to its treatment of gays and lesbians serving in the nation’s military.
McDonnell addressed the issue on his monthly call-in show on WTOP in response to questions that have arisen regarding legislation that Northern Virginia Republican Bob Marshall plans to introduce in the Virginia General Assembly next month that would ban gays and lesbians from openly serving in the Guard.
“Whatever the final guidelines of the Department of Defense, I would expect the National Guard bureau in Virginia to adhere to those rules so we would have one set of rules for the entire military,” said McDonnell, noting his personal exceptions to the legislation passed in Congress last week that ends the controversial don’t ask, don’t tell policy that had banned openly gay men and women from serving in the armed forces.
Marshall, in an interview with a Washington, D.C., TV station Monday night said he is introducing the legislation because of fears of the spread of sexually transmitted diseases from gay troops and the distraction that gay soldiers would have on straight men serving in the military.
“It’s a distraction when I’m on the battlefield and have to concentrate on the enemy 600 yards away and I’m worried about this guy whose got eyes on me,” Marshall said in the interview.
The Log Cabin Republican Group of Virginia, a gay and lesbian civil-rights advocacy group, condemned the Marshall proposal and Marshall’s “extreme and hateful beliefs.”
“With all the important problems facing our country and our commonwealth, Del. Marshall has chosen anti-gay prejudice to help gin up his base to promote his political career,” said David Lampo, the vice president of the Virginia Log Cabin Republicans. “His action is akin to the Southern bigots and officials who attacked President Truman when he ended the Jim Crow laws that governed our military, including the same weak and pathetic warnings about the ill effects he predicts our nation will suffer from ending the policy of government discrimination on the basis of service members’ sexual orientation.”
Story by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at [email protected].