Gov. McDonnell Says No Way To New DADT For Va. National Guard

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December 21, 2010 11:19 a.m.
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A state lawmaker from Virginia is so upset about the Congress repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell that he wants to institute a mini-DADT banning gay men and lesbians from the Virginia National Guard.

“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,” the lawmaker, Delegate Bob Marshall (R), told WUSA9. “If I needed a blood transfusion and the guy next to me had committed sodomy 14 times in the last month I’d be worried.”

Marshall says he’s working on legislation to institute a DADT-style state law. His authority to do so, he claims, comes from the clause of the U.S. Constitution which reads, “reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia.”

But Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), who as the authority to deploy the state National Guard in a state emergency, says no way.“Whatever the final guidelines are from the Department of the Defense, I expect the Virginia National Guard Bureau to adhere to them,” McDonnell said during a WTOP radio show today.

“While I disagree with the action the Congress took based on my own experience in the military,” he said, “we can’t have two different systems in the military and our National Guard.”

Marshall is one of the most conservative delegates in the Virginia state legislature. His claims to fame include writing Virginia’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as heterosexual and outlawing civil unions.

McDonnell is no social moderate, either. In February, for example, he signed an executive order revoking discrimination protection from gay and lesbian state workers.

As far as whether such a move to reinstitute DADT in Virginia would even be legal, a spokesman for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli tells TPM that the Virginia National Guard is governed by both federal and state law. The spokesman said that, if the bill is submitted to his office, Cuccinelli will review its legality and issue a legal opinion.

A spokeswoman for the Defense Department declined to comment.

Congress repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which forbade openly gay men and women from serving in the military, last weekend. President Obama is scheduled to sign it into law tomorrow morning, but the law will not be repealed immediately. It won’t take effect until Obama, the defense secretary and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff certify that the military is sufficiently prepared to repeal the policy. So far, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been tight-lipped on how long that might take.

Watch Marshall’s comments to WUSA9:

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