A federal policy that requires some members of the military to keep quiet about their sexual orientation sparked a lot of talk in Jefferson City Tuesday.
State Senator Jolie Justus (D-Kansas City), who is open about her homosexuality, took to the Senate floor to announce her filing of a resolution calling on Congress to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Justus told of Shonda Garrison of Branson who left the military. Justus said that Garrison enlisted in the Army out of high school and planned to make the military her career. She spent a year in the desert of Saudi Arabia in the fall of 1990. Justus said that after eight years of service, Garrison agonized, then made the decision to leave, because she could no longer serve in silence.
“Shonda is gay and under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, she could not enter a committed relationship with the person she loves for fear of losing her career,” Justus told fellow senators. “Shonda Garrison is my partner and she supports the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Countering with a resolution asking Congress to keep Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in place is Sen. Bill Stouffer of Napton, a Republican candidate for Congress who says if elected, he would study the issue.
“My first initial reaction is to leave it as it is,” Stouffer told the Missourinet. “But I am also open to information.”
Stouffer hopes to unseat West-Central Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, who helped write the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.
“And it has worked, in my opinion, quite well for some 17 years,” Skelton told reporters during a news conference held in Jefferson City earlier in the day.
Skelton says he’s personally opposed to changing it.