- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 8, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The law being proposed by Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, Florida Democrat, is another underhanded attempt at overturning the current law barring openly gay service members from the military - a law that most in Congress still supports (“Immunity sought for ‘don’t ask’ review,” Page 1, Friday).

If the proposed immunity law were to pass, I foresee many gays in the military rushing to testify before Congress and getting protected status for the rest of their military careers while serving openly as gay.

The proposed law is a ruse, and Mr. Hastings knows it. There are more than enough gay former military members who can testify to Congress on whether the 1993 law should be kept. Not only have thousands been discharged since 1994 for being gay, but there are thousands more who completed their enlistments and left or retired after 20-plus years.

Many of the people who have been discharged since 1994 for being gay told their commanding officer that they were gay because they wanted to get out of the military before their enlistment obligations were over. When they “told,” they knew they would be discharged and receive a fully honorable discharge.

The sponsor of this immunity bill, Mr. Hastings, was previously a lawyer and a federal judge from 1979-89. But in 1988, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives impeached then-Judge Hastings for bribery and perjury by a vote of 413-3. Then, in 1989, he was convicted by the Senate, becoming just the sixth federal judge in U.S. history to be removed from office by the Senate. The Senate voted 69-26 to convict and thus remove him as a judge.

After being removed as a judge, Mr. Hastings was elected in 1993 to represent Florida’s 23rd Congressional District, and he has been re-elected several times. Given his track record, he is unlikely to be voted out of office for proposing such rubbish legislation.

WAYNE L. JOHNSON

Commander (retired)

Judge Advocate General’s Corps

U.S. Navy

Alexandria


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