The Odd Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘navy’

DADT Officially Over

Posted by That Other Mike on 20/09/2011

With Tuesday’s repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, gays and lesbians are now free to serve openly in the U.S. armed services.

The U.S. military has spent months preparing for the repeal, updating regulations and training to reflect the impending change, and the Pentagon has already begun accepting applications from openly gay men and women.

The historic shift follows years of battle and debate over the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, also referred to as “DADT.” When it was signed by President Clinton in 1993, the policy was hailed by proponents for extending protection to gays and lesbians serving their country. Under the law, commanders were not allowed to ask about someone’s sexual orientation, and gays and lesbians were expected to keep their orientation under wraps.

But as gays and lesbians continued to fight for equal rights in other areas of society, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy grew to become a painful reminder that those in the military still had to hide their sexual orientation. Moreover, gays and lesbians who were open about their sexual orientation — or who were outed — faced punishment and expulsion.

Such punishments and expulsions will now stop. And the repeal ends any pending investigations or inquiries.

The original drive to lift the ban, and later the DADT policy, pitted those fighting to recognize the service of gay servicemen and women against those who feared it would disrupt the service’s sense of order and undermine critical military relationships.

President Obama signed the law that repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell” and officially certified this summer that it would not diminish military readiness. But plenty of opposition still remains.”It’s a tragic day for America,” said Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council.

While gays and lesbians can now serve openly, there are still limits: All servicemen and women — regardless of sexual orientation — must continue to abide by strict standards of personal conduct, such as those pertaining to public displays of affection.

Navy Lt. Gary Ross celebrated the appeal by marrying his longtime partner in Vermont at midnight Monday — the exact moment of the repeal. Ross told the Associated Press that when he returns to work as a surface warfare officer at Ft. Huachuca in Arizona near the Mexican border, he does not plan to make a big deal about the marriage. But he no longer has to keep it a secret either.

The old system “requires you to lie several times a day,” he said.

LA Times

It’s about time, and I, for one, eagerly await our homosexual overlords.

In all seriousness, though, over the next couple of weeks, expect the following:

  1. Rightwing chicken littles will be pouncing on every opportunity to discredit gay and lesbian soldiers, whether it’s by the same generalised unpleasantness they always employ when it comes to GLBT rights, or by pointing out individuals who happen to be gay and who have done something wrong as how it was all a big mistake.
  2. Firebaggers will continue to act as if it just wasn’t enough, and will continue to try to paint Obama as a man unfriendly to the GLBT community

See also.


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DADT to go?

Posted by That Other Mike on 29/05/2010

HuffPo: House Passes ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal Amendment, Senate Bill Advances

WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday delivered a victory to President Barack Obama and gay rights groups by approving a proposal to repeal the law that allows gays to serve in the military only if they don’t disclose their sexual orientation.

The 234-194 vote to overturn the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy reflected a view among many in Congress that America was ready for a military in which gays and straights can stand side by side in the trenches.

Long overdue!

Predictably, the Republican caucus in general voted against, with five Rs voting for. The general response of the Republicans can be summed up as “We’re going to squeeze every last ounce of political juice out of the soldiers we claim to best represent”. The Demoratic caucus voted overwhelmingly in favour, although 26 voted against; while I make no comment on the culture surrounding them, of those 26, 14 are from Southern districts.

Top ironic moment from the article: Rep. Howard McKeon of California made the following statement:

Congress going first “is the equivalent to turning to our men and women in uniform and their families and saying, ‘Your opinion, your view, do not count,'” said Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon of California, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee.

which was followed by this statement by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), who, unlike “Buck” McKeon, actually served in the armed forces:

“[In Iraq] my teams did not care whether a fellow soldier was straight or gay if they could fire their assault rifle or run a convoy down ambush alley and do their job so everyone would come home safely.”

Hmmm. I wonder whose opinion might carry a little more weight here?

This is rather reflective of the Republicans’ whole attitude at the moment – one of total disconnection from reality, which in part stems from their obsessive desire to pander to the homophobic, socially-reactionary wing of the Republican Party, as so accurately exemplified by the Teabaggers. John McCain has, in a stunning burst of maverickiness, decided to side with the burgeoning lunatic Republican establishment. Go mavericks!

DADT promotes a culture of secrecy and blame, loses valuable personnel, and provides a means for the dishonest to get out of the military service they volunteered for. And more to the point, the rationale provided for it it, that open service of gay soldiers negatively affects morale, does not hold up: on the international stage, at least 30 countries allow openly gay soldiers to serve, some of them for only a short while, and some for decades, yet none of them report it as an issue; to add to that, two of the best trained fighting forces in the entire world, namely the British Army and the Israeli Defense Force, are on that list.

Closer to home, soldiers polled on the subject are either indifferent to or overwhelmingly in favour of allowing openly gay soldiers to serve; this view is shared by General John Shalikashvili, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and former Defense Secretary William Cohen, Colin Powell, and even the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has cautiously supported repeal.

What reason can there be for continuing with the law as it stands? It is discriminatory, unfair, and based in unsound reasoning; time for it to go.

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