Daily RFT poked fun at Missouri legislators tripping over themselves
in Jefferson City to support (or oppose) the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy toward homosexuals serving in its ranks.
These state lawmakers essentially have no bearing on the debate this week in Washington D.C. to allow openly gay men and women to serve in the armed forces. That said, there is one Missouri politician who does play a crucial role in the discussion.
Congressman Ike Skelton
a Democrat serving the socially conservative 4th District of western
Missouri, is the powerful chairman of the House Armed Services
Committee. And while Skelton's counterpart in the Senate held a hearing yesterday
to examine "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Skelton refuses to consider the topic.
A bill currently floating around Congress that would allow gays to serve openly in the military already has 187 co-sponsors -- leaving it just 31 votes short of the 218 it would need to pass the House. Yet the bill (H.R. 1283
), is likely to die on the floor because Skelton refuses to hold a hearing on the legislation in his committee.
Skelton, whose district includes Whiteman Air Force Base and Ft. Leonard Wood, last week said he is against "anything that is disturbing or upsetting to the troops."