Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) began her career as an anti-gay firebrand and spokesperson for the successful campaign to pass a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality in Missouri. After she was elected to the House in 2010, she became a favorite of conservative groups for her virulent attacks on the Obama Administration over its stance on the Defense of Marriage Act. Now, Hartzler told constituents that she supports the reinstatement of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but if the policy’s repeal is successfully implemented, the military should house openly gay soldiers in separate barracks just as quarters are divided for men and women. The Daily Star-Journal reports:
At the ABC Building on Wednesday, Hartzler met with active, reserve and retired military members and spouses. A military retiree, Tom Fitzpatrick, Warrensburg, asked Hartzler about the new military policy on gays.
“Is there a growing sentiment to reinstate don’t ask, don’t tell?” Fitzpatrick asked.
After a 10-month Pentagon study found more than two-thirds of service members do not object to serving alongside openly gay soldiers, President Obama signed a defense bill that included ending the practice of expelling gay service members.
Hartzler – whose 4th Congressional District includes Whiteman Air Force Base and the Army’s Fort Leonard Wood – told Fitzpatrick she and other Republicans oppose the change.
“I can tell you people on the committee, who are my side of the aisle, think it’s very ill-advised and do not support that,” Hartzler said, and are “pushing back.”
Hartzler said that during a hearing with military brass she asked why, because separate housing exists for male and female troops, gays are not housed separately, too. She said a general, she did not know which, responded first with a gurgling-type noise before answering, “”We’re recruiting professionals.”‘
Hartzler’s description led some in the crowd to laugh.
“So we have some work to do there,” she said. “We’re going to keep advancing the cause.”