Skip to main content

TribBlog: Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Change

Sen. Cornyn said allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the U.S. military would hinder recruitment efforts.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in the House chamber of the Texas Capitol

Gay Texans hopeful they might soon be able to serve in the U.S. military without concealing their sexual orientation won’t find any support from their junior U.S. senator. John Cornyn, a former member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, last week reaffirmed his belief that allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the U.S. military could hinder recruitment efforts at a time the country is fighting a two-front war.

“There has been a lot of stresses and strains, particularly on the Army but also in the Marine Corps,” he told reporters on a conference call when asked about President Obama’s support for repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.  “I just don’t think that it’s helpful to do anything that might discourage more people from enlisting or reenlisting. And so, I think, this is the sort of thing that causes uncertainty, which may affect our ability to recruit and retain volunteers.”

This stands in contrast to the testimony of Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who on Tuesday publicly declared his personal support for the policy change. “Speaking for myself and myself only, it is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do,” he told the committee. "No matter how I look at this issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.”

Mullen added that a yearlong study would soon be undertaken to examine how the military might best transition out from the current policy.

Support public-service journalism that gets the context right

Yes, I'll donate today