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WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is on the verge of ordering young women to register for a military draft for the first time in history, touching off outrage among social conservatives who fear the move is another step toward blurring gender lines.
The female draft requirement, approved late Thursday by the Senate Armed Services Committee, could be as heated as the divisive debate over what public lavatories and locker rooms transgender people should use.
Opponents of expanding the draft may be unable to halt the momentum in favor of lifting the exclusion, which was triggered by the Pentagon’s decision late last year to open all front-line combat jobs to women. After gender restrictions to military service were erased, the top uniformed officers in each of the military branches expressed support during congressional testimony for including women in a potential draft.
The Senate Armed Services Committee added a provision to its version of the annual defense policy bill that calls for women to sign up with the Selective Service within 30 days of turning 18 — just as men are — beginning in January 2018, according to a summary of the legislation released by the committee.
The White House has declined to say whether President Barack Obama would sign into law legislation that expands the draft to include women.
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