Tsongas backs draft registration for women
By Evan Lips | March 11, 2016, 14:40 EST
LOWELL – Niki Tsongas, the congresswoman from Lowell, thinks women should be required to register and be ready to be drafted for military service, calling it another step toward gender equality in the armed forces, according to comments reported by the Lowell Sun newspaper.
The Sun posted a video of a 100-minute meeting the Democrat had with the Sun’s editorial board. Tsongas, who serves on the Armed Services Committee in the House of Representatives, was asked directly whether she supported opening automatic draft registration for 18-year-old women.
“I absolutely think so – I do – I support it,” Tsongas said, adding that she hadn’t taken an official stance on the matter previously. “I tell people when it comes to combat-related positions, first of all, women are serving in combat now, no matter what.”
Tsongas indicated she agreed with the observation that the U.S. armed forces can’t stay the best in the world if they exclude half the nation’s population. Some activists have taken the issue a step further.
Last summer, a New Jersey woman and her teenage daughter sued in federal court to challenge the constitutionality of male-only draft registration. According to a July 13 Courthouse News Service report, the 17-year-old just prior to turning 18 tried to register online but was bumped from the site after she was prompted to identify her gender and clicked “female.”
“If the two sexes can fight and die together, they can register together; if not, then no one should have to register,” the women say in the lawsuit.
The Selective Service System, named as a defendant by the pair, is seeking a dismissal of the suit.