Log Cabin Urges House Republicans to Defeat Defense Bill
Anti-Gay Language Sabotages GOP Promises in Contract With America
(WASHINGTON, DC) – The nation's largest gay and lesbian Republican organization today called on Republicans to defeat the FY 1997 Defense Authorization Act, which the House of Representatives will begin debating on Tuesday. The omnibus bill (H.R. 3230) contains a provision to reinstate the old ban on gays in the military, returning policy to before the enactment of the current "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
"The defense bill is indefensible," said Richard Tafel, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans. "This bill needlessly increases spending, enlarges the deficit, and reopens one of the most divisive issues in recent years by reinstating the ban on gays in the military. It is totally contrary to the promises set forth in the Contract with America, and we call on every Republican to vote against it."
The anti-gay language was added to the bill by Rep. Bob Dornan's (R-CA) National Security Committee. Also added was a reinstatement of a provision Dornan inserted into the 1996 authorization which orders the automatic discharge of people with HIV. This provision, which was opposed by the Pentagon and repealed by Congress in April, will be opposed with an amendment offered by Rep. Peter Torkildsen (R-MA). An amendment sponsored by Rep. Steve Gunderson (R-WI) to strip the gay ban language, however, was not accepted by the House Rules Committee. A growing number of Republicans are also voicing opposition to the bill's spending measures, calling them "pork barrel" which the military did not request, contradicting the budget-cutting principles of the GOP Contract with America.
"There is no alternative but to vote against this bill," Tafel said. "It is time to stand up for the Contract with America and against the intolerance of Bob Dornan. We have to get back to the promises we made to the American people and get away from this slide to the far right on social issues. The GOP leadership has to wake up and get this Congress under control again and stop handing issue after issue to the Democrats."
"We Republicans have argued for radical reforms of Medicare, welfare and other programs, and by throwing money at the Pentagon at the same time the Party's credibility is undermined," Tafel said.