Politifact Virginia: Morrissey defends gays in the military

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The debate over gays in the military is over at the federal level, but in Richmond the fight continues.

First- Delegate Bob Marshall tried, but failed, to keep "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in place for the Virginia National Guard. Then Henrico Delegate Joe Morrissey came out with a bill designed to protect homosexuals' right to serve. That bill also didn't get anywhere. But Morrissey made an impassioned plea on the house floor. We want to take a closer look at this claim.

"I thought that gay men and women were trying to serve in the military and it was the military that half a billion dollars to drumming them out," said Del. Joe Morrissey.

Half a billion dollars discharging gays from the military? Is that possible? According to the reporters at PolitiFact Virginia, that claim is "Mostly True".

Here's why he is a bit off. Two different reports from the government accountability office, backed up by military documents cited the cost of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" at a little under $300 million. But Morrissey says he drew his number from two different independent groups including UCLA. That number is much higher - $553 million. Neither group had full access to the government records, so it is impossible to determine if their claim is 100 percent accurate.

"Since they couldn't calculate the cost but they know the cost exists - they know it was higher than that, but not with any certainty just how much higher and given that other reports did place it at that $500 million number. Del. Morrissey got it mostly right we gave it a mostly true," said Jacob Geiger with Richmond Times Dispatch.

And you can see all the information behind this week's PolitiFact Virginia report on their web site, politifactvirginia.com. And you can see all our past reports on the political blog, www.decisionvirginia.com.

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