This was done in the Kentucky Legislature a couple of years ago when the stream saver bill, which was widely opposed by coal interests in the state and championed by environmental groups, was attached to a bill to levy an excise tax on camel feed. There was no relation to camel feed and attempting to move coal companies away from Kentucky streams, but by attaching that stream saver bill to a camel feed bill, it could be heard in the Appropriations and Revenue Committee – a committee which was seen as more sympathetic to the environmental cause. Had the bill been introduced by itself, the natural resources committee – made up at the time by more coal friendly lawmakers – would have voted the measure down.
Ultimately, the House bill was shot down in committee anyway, but not for lack of sneakiness. Now, it seems, Democrats in Washington, D.C. have employed this same kind of sneakiness to have the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law repealed.
This law, passed during the Clinton Administration, is really one of the more nonsensical laws out there as it prohibits openly gay American soldiers from serving in the military. Never mind the fact that they may be willing to suit up and defend our country, or that a part of our defense budget is paid for by the taxes from this same group of people, we’ve basically said we’ll take your money, but we don’t want you to fight. It’s pretty stupid, really, and should be repealed.
But this was also a bill destined to fail, not because it didn’t have merits and not because it did not have the majority support, but because sneaky politics got in the way. A Democratic senator attached this legislation to a military spending bill. That way, if senators didn’t vote for it, it would appear they were voting against funding our soldiers. But the Republican senators, well aware of what was going on, said that’s fine, but they’ll add several amendments of their own. So partisan politics burst through the door, the bill was shot down, and we still say that if you’re gay, Uncle Sam doesn’t want you in our military.
Major combat operations may have ended in Iraq, but we’re still fighting two wars. So it makes just so little sense for us to ban a perfectly able segment of our society from serving in the military based upon their sexual preference. I say, if you’re an American and you want to pick up a rifle and fight for your country, then what’s the problem? I’m not aware of any attributes of homosexuals that should preclude them from serving.
Perhaps if this senator had decided against playing politics, and introduced the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” on its own, then it could have passed Congress on its own merits.
As it is, our sneaky politicians in Washington, D.C. are continuing to muck up the process.