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Public Statements

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. KINGSTON. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I just find it so appalling that the defense committee, which has always had a strong bipartisan relationship and a problem-solving ability, has only been given 10 minutes to uproot a long-standing policy on Don't Ask, Don't Tell, 5 minutes per side, to make a major social change in America, a change that will change the dynamic in the barracks, in the field, the morale, the tension.

What will you do about spousal benefits in the face of DOMA, Don't Ask, Don't Tell? It would certainly be unfair to have somebody in combat and not cover his husband. So you are going to have spousal benefits.

And when you do that, what do you do about the Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA? That's the law of the land. You will have to change the State laws to allow same-sex marriages. That's how profound this change is today that we will be voting on after a 10-minute debate.

What about the issue of religious freedom? We have already seen the military uninvite people like Tony Perkins and Franklin Graham for speaking at prayer breakfasts.

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Mr. KINGSTON. If you just cut out everything else on the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and say what do you do about the spouse benefits and what do you do about the religious freedom that's so important to all soldiers, how do you deal with that, you need more than 10 minutes.

I appeal to all Members of Congress, wherever you are on this, to realize we need more than 10 minutes and reject the amendment so we can get it.

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Mr. KINGSTON. I thank the gentleman.

I wanted to say, we have an issue with military chaplains who actually work for their denomination. They do not necessarily answer straight to the military. They are supposed to have their loyalty to their denomination.

If their denomination believes a certain thing that is not in alignment with a potential new policy of the defense, then they are going to be censored. How do you deal with that censorship matter and that freedom of religion issue? Again, Tony Perkins, a marine, a chaplain, the president of Family Research Council, and Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, have both been uninvited already because of their views. They are politically incorrect.

So the military invited them to speak at prayer breakfasts and they were uninvited. It would not have happened without this debate. That's why we need more than 10 minutes.

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