As I mentioned yesterday, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission nominee Chai Feldblum had her hearing at the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Clifford Stanley had a confirmation hearing at the Senate Armed Services Committee.
First Clifford Stanley's hearing. Stanley has been nominated to serve as Under Secretary of Defense for
Personnel and Readiness in the Department of Defense and oversee "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", among other things.
HRC Backstory reports on the questions regarding the military gay ban, following John McCain's assertion that the ban was "Working successfully":
"Senator Levin followed McCain’s pro-DADT position by asking simply
if Dr. Stanley would provide his best objective opinion over the repeal
of DADT, to which Dr. Stanley responded with a simple yes. An
opportunity to elaborate was provided with Senator Udall (D-CO), who
asked – while noting gays and lesbians already serve in the armed
services, and that thousands of gays and lesbians are civilian
employees working with military personnel – if Dr. Stanley was prepared
to support a push by the White House to include repeal of DADT in
policy recommendations in the defense budget next year. Dr. Stanley
didn’t quite answer the question, recognizing this is a sensitive issue
and that he would be seeking input from all sources, particularly the
service chiefs and military personnel “from deck plate to squad level,”
and provide a recommendation to Secretary Gates. Dr. Stanley admitted
he did not know what that recommendation would be, and will bear no
preconceived notions as to the direction he will go in recommending
action on DADT. Senator Burris (D-IL) asked what Dr. Stanley would do about pending
discharge cases immediately upon confirmation. Dr. Stanley – correctly
– responded that the pending cases would fall under existing statute,
and that he was unaware that he would have any role in these pending
discharge cases (he wouldn’t)."
The Servicemember's Legal Defense Network (SLDN) expressed disappointment that Stanley "punted". Said Aubrey Sarvis: "When given the opportunity by Senator Mark Udall (D-Colo.) to support his commander in chief’s position to overturn the ban, Dr. Stanley did not do so. However, as is the case with most nominees, Dr. Stanley did not delve into any of the policy issues in his portfolio. We look forward to Dr. Stanley becoming fully aligned with President Obama on repeal."
A question about polygamy was the highlight of Feldblum's testimony, according to Law Dork, with regard to a petition the nominee had signed called “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision for All Our Families & Relationships” which mentioned polygamous families as an "alternative" relationship:
Feldblum began, initially, by stating unambiguously, “I do not
support polygamy.” She went on to say that it was a “mistake” to sign
the petition and told the Committee that it was for that reason that
she asked for her name to be removed from it. Ben Smith at Politico reported on Wednesday that Feldblum had sent a letter to the petition organizers asking that her name be removed.
Harkin pushed further, asking her to explain why she had signed on
to the statement in the first place. Feldblum stated that she had been
asked to sign on to the petition by “another academic from Columbia.”
She said, “I agreed with the general thrust of the statement,” and that
her work at the time was very focused on efforts to “support the range
of caregiving relationships.” It was for that reason, she said, that
she signed on in support of the petition.
She concluded, though, “However, the statement goes beyond what I
would have said. That’s why it was a mistake to sign it and why I
asked for my name to be removed.”