Elaine Donnelly Steps Up Crusade Against Gays in the Military

Elaine Donnelly of the anti-gay Center for Military Readiness (you may remember reading about her testimony at last July's hearings before the House Armed Services Committee) has rounded up a group of 1,000 anti-gay retired military officers to get behind her bigoted crusade.

Donnelly The AP reports: "A statement issued by the retired officers Tuesday said passage of that bill 'would undermine recruiting and retention, impact leadership at all levels, have adverse effects on the willingness of parents who lend their sons and daughters to military service, and eventually break the All-Volunteer Force.' Among the signatories were Gen. Carl E. Mundy, Jr., a former commandant of the Marine Corps; Adm. Leighton W. Smith, a former commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe; Gen. Charles A. Horner, who commanded U.S. aerial forces during the 1990-91 Gulf War; and Adm. Jerome L. Johnson, a former vice chief of Naval Operations. The retired officers said they strongly supported the principle that 'homosexuality is incompatible with military service' and warned that repeal of current law could jeopardize morale and 'unit cohesion.'"

Both Servicemember's Legal Defense Fund (SLDN) executive director Aubrey Sarvis and Unfriendly Fire author Nathaniel Frank criticized Donnelly.

Said Sarvis: "The signers of this petition are mired in the fears and politics of the past. More than 75 percent of the American public, including most younger service members as well as many active duty flag officers, realize the question is not if 'don't ask, don't tell' is repealed, but when and how."

You may remember Donnelly held a secret strategy meeting last October in Washington DC with Veterans Service Organizations which was busted by PFLAG after they intercepted a letter from Donnelly to the VSOs. It appears this is what has come of that meeting.

PFLAG's Steve Ralls wrote then in the Huffington Post: "Thursday's briefing in Washington is a last-minute, last-ditch effort by Donnelly to try and curry some small measure of influence on Capitol Hill. To do so, she is likely to give VSO leaders misinformation, as she has done with the press and the public, in order to mislead them on the issue and attempt to win them over to her side. As polls of military personnel show that young service members and veterans are overwhelmingly comfortable and ready to serve with gay colleagues, she is attempting to reach out to the older, more conservative VSO membership to try and rally support for her cause."

Watch former Army officer Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Penn) grill and chastise Donnelly at the hearings last July, AFTER THE JUMP...