Chivalry is not dead. At least among some Republicans in Congress.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio announced this week that he and other GOP senators were preparing to fight the Democrats’ mandate that women be required to register for the Selective Service System, otherwise known as the draft.
The Pentagon has not actually drafted troops since 1972, and converted to the all-volunteer force a year later. But American men have been required by federal law to register with the SSS within a month of their 18th birthday since 1980.
In 2019, in response to a lawsuit, a federal judge declared that the males-only rule was unconstitutional. Two years ago, a congressional commission argued women should be included. Last September the Democratic majority in the House adopted a provision to the National Defense Authorization Act that required women to register.
Republicans last year were able to get that removed. But the push to mandate registration by women has been renewed as Congress again prepares to consider the $858 billion NDAA for next year.
Rubio and other Republicans want that language stricken.
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In a letter to Sen. Jack Reed, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Rubio wrote that they opposed “any attempt” to use the NDAA to force women to register for the military draft.
“Women have served in and alongside the Armed Forces since our nation’s founding. Time and again, they have answered the call of duty and served honorably – often heroically – when our nation needed them,” the senators noted.
“But they have done so of their own will. While American men are required to register for the military draft and fight if needed, these requirements have never been applied to American women. Where they have fought, they have done so freely.”
“This approach has served our nation well, and it retains broad bipartisan support,” the letter continued. “Indeed, a majority of American women oppose changing it.”
“Many of our constituents were shocked and concerned when they learned of these efforts to send American women to war against their will, and they asked us to do everything in our power to prevent the new requirement from becoming law. Fortunately, their advocacy paid off. The final version of the FY22 NDAA did not require American women to register for the military draft,” the senators added.
“We were pleased with that outcome, but we also believe it never should have gotten that far in the first place,” they concluded.
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“We urge you in the strongest possible terms not to use this year’s NDAA to try to force America’s women to register for the military draft. Reviving these efforts would be a grave mistake and would needlessly inject divisive social policies into important debates over our national security.”
Besides Rubio, 11 other GOP senators signed the letter. They include Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, John Boozman of Arkansas, Steve Daines of Montana, Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Jim Risch of Idaho.