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Harper: Tolerating gays in military a mistake

Sen. Jack Harper stood up during a discussion on the Senate floor to explain that it was a mistake for President Obama to advocate for changes to the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” directive that has kept gays and lesbians from serving openly in the U.S. military.

Harper, who served in the Army in the late 1980s, recalled that he had been asked to share a room with a soldier who was gay. Harper objected and was assigned to a different room.

Everyone in his unit was aware the man was gay, Harper said, but nobody made a big deal out of it. Looking back, Harper said it shouldn’t have been tolerated.

“We had problems from the beginning because we decided that we would not turn in somebody who is openly serving in the military who was a homosexual-that we knew to be a homosexual.” Harper said. “We tried to be tolerant. It didn’t work. It didn’t work for our platoon. It didn’t work for the First Infantry Division. And it will not work for the United States of America.”

Sen. Paula Aboud, who is lesbian, responded sarcastically.

“I’m just delighted to hear that this person just didn’t attack Senator Harper and that it wasn’t a horrible gay experience,” she said.

Sen. Ken Cheuvront, who is gay, said people should be allowed to serve in the military regardless of their sexual orientation.

“When you are shooting – I think as our late Senator Goldwater stated – all you are looking at is shooting at the enemy,” he said.

That exchange on Jan. 28 was only the most recent in a series of confrontations among Harper, Cheuvront and Aboud. Several times, public disagreements have erupted during debate on issues that impact homosexuals.

In 2008, Harper, presiding over a Senate floor session, turned off the microphones being used by Cheuvront and Aboud while they were trying to filibuster a measure to amend the state Constitution stating that marriage is only valid between a man and a woman.

Cutting off debate allowed the Senate to pass the resolution. The House had passed it weeks earlier. Later that year, voters approve the ballot measure.

The incident on the Senate floor on the final night of the 2008 legislative session led to a complaint against Harper. He later faced a hearing in the Ethics Committee.

The committee found that Harper did not breach any ethical rules when he cut off Aboud and Cheuvront in the middle of debate.

At one point, Harper said turning off the microphones was an accident. Then, when he testified to the Ethics Committee, Harper said he cut them off after witnessing the “transparently dilatory questioning that transpired between the two.”

7 comments

  1. And what does Sen. Harper do with other people who are different than he is? What of those who hold different religious values? what of those who are of different ethnicities and who practice rituals unlike his own?

    Apparently to Sen. Harper all people are not created equal – just the ones he approves of.

    Arizona should thank Sen. Harper for revealing himself for who he is; revealing his inability to see all humankind as valuable; his inability to value all those who might be different from his version of how the world ought to look

    Freedom & Choice are American values, Senator, that do not belong to any one particular party.

    Society doesn’t exist for your comfort.

  2. Very Interesting. Military women in the past had the opportunity to get discharged if the became pregnant. Now women with children can Serve if they can get Someone to care efor their children if they are deployed to a combat area. Now the Military is issuing the morning after birth control pill. When I served in the Air Force Friday was Western Night and Saturday was Soul Night Will they have a night for Gays?

  3. Note everyone today in the armed Forces has a Class A Uniform. Un less you are a member of an honor you never wear it. Everyone is wearing BDUs At one time at the Pentagon, Officers wore civilian clothes but the enlisted were required to wear their Uniforms.

  4. WE DON”T HARPERS OPINION ABOUT ANYTHING. BEST HE COULD DO FOR ANY OF US IS TO RESIGN.

  5. Why is Jack Harper wasting time talking about this at all? The state is multi-billion dollars in debt. Our key economic indicators continue to plunge in the face of the complete ineptitude of our legislative “leadership” and bond agencies are slashing away at our state credit rating.

    Harper and his crew are costing all of us a huge sum of money while they toss around ideological soundbites. Harper has ZERO influence on federal military policy…he is just wasting all of our time while he grandstands. More fiddling while Rome burns.

  6. Sgt Harper, an expert in military affairs, states that when he was in Europe he refused a billeting assignment with a gay whom everyone knew was gay, but admits that nobody made a big deal of it. Upon later reflection, he states it (what it? The gay? the tolerance?) shouldn’t have been tolerated. Later in the interview he says “we” had problem, we showed tolerance….who are the “we”?
    is squad? is platoon? is army?. And why do his expressions of bigotry replace working on the severe financial problems in the State?

  7. Tolerating homophobes in the legislature is a bigger mistake.

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