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Posted at 6:20 PM ET, 02/ 1/2011

House kills bill to retain Don't Ask Don't Tell in Virginia National Guard

By Rosalind S. Helderman
Rosalind S. Helderman

A House subcommittee committee voted Tuesday evening to effectively kill a highly controversial proposal to retain the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy for gay service members in the Virginia National Guard.

Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) argued the Virginia National Guard should continue to bar gays and lesbians from serving openly, despite a Congressional vote to repeal the policy that has barred their open service at the national level.

The Defense Department is working to formulate regulations to enact the Congressional action and President Obama has said the policy will be repealed before the end of the year.

Among those speaking on Marshall's behalf were a retired Marine brigadier general who commanded a battalion in Vietnam and Herb Titus, a professor who Marshall noted several times taught Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) in law school. (Campaign flashback--Titus served as chairman of a three-member group that supervised the writing of McDonnell's thesis.)

Only two members of the Republican-led committee supported the measure--Del. Joseph P. Johnson Jr. (D-Washington) and Del. Lacey E. Putney (I-Bedford).

Del. Bill Janis (R-Goochland) argued that though, as a Navy veteran, he opposes the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, it would create a "management and disciplinary nightmare" for field officers if Virginia National Guard members served under different rules than the rest of the military. He noted guardsmen frequently serve in units overseas alongside members of other state guards and the U.S. military.

Virginia Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli (R) has also written that the federal government could withhold more than $200 million in funding for Virginia's National Guard if the state bucked federal policy, a concern cited by several committee members. McDonnell has said he believes Virginia should follow federal policy.

The same subcommittee committee also voted to kill a bill proposed by Del. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) to require the guard to follow federal recruitment standards.

Morrissey left the meeting steamed after House Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford), who chairs the committee, allowed the group to vote before he'd presented the bill. Howell said Morrissey's bill was unnecessary because the panel had already dispatched the proposal from Marshall it was intended to counter.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | February 1, 2011; 6:20 PM ET
Categories:  Bob Marshall, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Ken Cuccinelli, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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There is hope Virginia. FYI – is providing a supportive environment for friending, sharing and networking between Gay active military, vets and supporters.

Posted by: skoa | February 4, 2011 9:37 AM | Report abuse

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