Questions for the Republicans Debating in South Carolina
by HRC staffFebruary 13, 2016
This week, while Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were debating in Milwaukee, Ted Cruz was busy attacking Marco Rubio and Donald Trump on marriage equality. Both have suggested that they would appoint Supreme Court judges who would overturn the court’s ruling that led to nationwide marriage equality. And yet, Cruz accused them both of using “the talking points of Barack Obama” on marriage equality.
South Carolina is home to an estimated 37,647 active duty military personnel. With that in mind, two questions for the candidates that don’t get a lot of attention, but are especially relevant during the debate in South Carolina:
Would you bring back “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” (DADT)? For 17 years, DADT prohibited qualified gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans from serving openly in the Armed Forces and sent a message that discrimination was acceptable. A 2010 study also found that women and minorities were disproportionately discharged under DADT. From World War II until the end of DADT, an estimated 114,000 service members were discharged from the military because of their sexual orientation. So far, Carson and Cruz have left the door open to bringing back DADT.
Would you drop the Obama Administration’s ban against allowing transgender people to serve openly? According to the Palm Center, there are approximately 15,500 actively serving transgender members of the U.S. military, making the Department of Defense (DOD) the largest employer of transgender people in America. These courageous men and women are forced to serve in silence by DOD medical regulations prohibiting their service and requiring their separation from the military if discovered – regulations are outdated and out of step with current medical practice.
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