Oklahoma National Guard to have 'don't ask, don't tell' under lawmaker's bill
BY WAYNE GREENE World Senior Writer
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
1/10/12 at 6:31 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY - A bill being proposed by a state lawmaker would reinstitute the controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the Oklahoma National Guard.
"That's exactly what it does," said Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, author of House Bill 2195.
The bill is being proposed in response to requests from members of the Oklahoma National Guard, Reynolds said.
The "don't ask, don't tell" policy, implemented by federal law in 1993, barred gays from serving openly in the U.S. military. The policy ended Sept. 20 after President Barack Obama, the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff certified that repeal would not harm military readiness.
Reynolds' bill would amend the existing state law that allows any able-bodied U.S. citizen or person who has declared intentions of becoming a citizen and who is at least 18 years old and not yet 70 to serve in the Guard.
The amendment would prohibit anyone who was ineligible to serve in the U.S. armed forces under federal regulations that were in effect on Jan. 1, 2009, from serving in the Guard.
Reynolds said the state is allowed to set its own standards for service in the National Guard and is not required to duplicate standards for the rest of the U.S. military.
Lt. Col. Max Moss, a spokesman for the Oklahoma National Guard, said the Guard would have no comment on the bill Monday.
Toby Jenkins, executive director of Tulsa-based Oklahomans for Equality, said his group would oppose the bill and urge legislators to kill it.
A similar bill was introduced in the Virginia House of Representatives last year but was killed in a legislative committee.
Original Print Headline: Bill would bring 'don't ask, don't tell' to Guard
Wayne Greene 918-581-8308
Rep. Mike Reynolds: His House Bill 2195 would set eligibility requirements for the Oklahoma Guard to what they were on Jan. 1, 2009, when the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy toward gays in the military was in effect. The Obama administration scrapped the rule, saying its repeal wouldn't hurt military readiness.