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A state senator is filing a resolution encouraging Congress to keep the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gays and lesbians serving in the armed forces. KSMU’s Missy Shelton reports.
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama called on Congress to let gays and lesbians serve openly. Republican State Senator Bill Stouffer says now is not the time to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Stouffer says, “I think it’s the wrong time. We have our military in two conflicts. We’ve had multiple deployments. I think it’s the wrong time to involve them in a culture war back here at home.”
Those who want to get rid of “don’t ask, don’t tell” say it’s discriminatory and a change is long overdue. Stouffer is planning to run for Congress by challenging Democratic Congressman Ike Skelton in November. The Missouri Democratic Party raised concerns about Stouffer holding a press conference to discuss a federal issue in his state senate office. Ryan Hobart is communications director for the Missouri Democratic Party.
Hobart says, “State law in Missouri is pretty clear that you can’t use state resources to benefit campaigns or candidates. This particular issue is one that Senator Stouffer has been talking about over and over in his campaign and it just raises questions about whether he’s trying to use his position as state senator to bolster his campaign.”
Hobart says the Democratic Party hasn’t decided whether it will file a formal complaint against Stouffer.Stouffer defended the use of his state office for the press conference, saying he was discussing a resolution he’s filing in the Missouri Senate.