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Lesbians and Gays in the U.S. Military - DADT policy

Repealing the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy:
Events during 2010-DEC-17 and DEC-18

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2010-DEC-17: Comments by FRC Action:

In a widely distributed Email to its supporters, FRC Action, a service of the Family Research Council, a fundamentalist Christian advocacy group, wrote that Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) voted: "... with liberals to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" against the will of her state."

They seem to be implying that most citizens of Maine favor the retention of DADT. That is most unlikely because a 2010-DEC national poll showed 77% support for the repeal and only 21% opposition. Maine is one of the more liberal states in the U.S. so it is likely that more than 80% of the citizens in that state support the repeal of DADT. Unlike almost all other Republican members of Congress, Senator Collins appears to be actually supporting the citizens of her state.

Their Email also said in part:

"... there are four Republican Senators on the record--Scott Brown (MA),Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Olympia Snowe(ME)--saying they'll override the military and vote to let gaysoldiers flaunt their lifestyle. This is without any substantialhearings on how repeal will affect the troops and is in direct defianceof most military leaders, who have grave concerns about changing thepolicy at this time. How Republicans answer he liberals' push willdetermine whether Senate Republicans--especially Minority Leader MitchMcConnell (R-Ky.)--are ready to lead their party to prominence or backinto irrelevance. 1

Their phrase "override the military" apparently means the opposite. That is, to support both the majority of servicemembers (according to a poll taken by the military's Comprehensive Review Working Group), and the top leadership of the military.

Their phrase "vote to let gaysoldiers flaunt their lifestyle" apparently means that if the DADT policy is repealed, it will allow lesbian, gay and bisexual servicemembers serve as freely as heterosexuals do today, without fearing expulsion from the military because of their sexual orientation.

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2010-DEC-18: Comments by Coral Ridge Ministries:

Robert Knight, correspondent for the fundamentalist church Coral Ridge Ministries wrote a letter to ministry supporters just before the Senate's vote to repeal DADT. He wrote that the entire future of the United States hangs in the balance over the DADT vote. He wrote, in part:

"All Senators need to hear from constituents immediately. The fate of not only the military, but our nation is at stake. If the law isrepealed, the military will be forced to turn morality on its head and initiate zero tolerance toward traditional values regarding sexuality. ..."

"The first casualties will be chaplains, followed by any in the service who will not submit to re-educationtraining aimed at persuading them that their biblical values are just aform of punishable bigotry. This will harm recruitment, retention, morale andcombat readiness. Even though a Pentagon survey has been largelymisrepresented in the media, it reveals that a strong majority of combat Army andMarines oppose overturning the law."

"Admittance of openhomosexuals would also unravel marriage, with same-sex couples challenging housingand other policies, and liberals using the military as a giant batteringram against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and 45 state laws and constitutionalamendments protecting marriage."

"The hour is late and the stakes are high. Please pray and then call your U.S. Senators and tell them not to betray our servicemen and women -– and our country."

"If you can, please call other wavering senators listed below to urge them to vote no on repealing 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.' Here’s the message to give when you call: 'Please filibuster Senate Bill 4022 and stop the homosexualization of our military'." 4

The verb "homosexualize" appears to mean "to make homosexual." While it is likely that more lesbians, gays and bisexuals would attempt to enlist in the military if the DADT policy was terminated and they could openly serve, it is doubtful that more than 5% of the servicemembers would be lesbian, gay or bisexual.

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2010-DEC-18: Stand-alone bill was debated and voted upon in the Senate:

In an unusual Saturday session, the Senate debated the stand-alone DADT repeal bill introduced bySen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). Senator Lieberman had appeared on CNN on the evening of 2010-DEC-15, claiming to have 61 or 62 supporting votes in the Senate for the stand-alone bill. Only 51 votes are required to pass the bill, but 60 votes are required to terminate a filibuster. Some commentators have suggested that if the bill is widely perceived as passing, that some Republicans will follow the wishes of their own constituents, members of the Republican Party, and the American people generally, by voting for the bill.

The Senate held a procedural vote onSaturday morning, DEC-18, to terminate a Republicanfilibuster and proceed to a vote on the bill itself. The procedural votewas 63 to 33 in favor. The filibuster was broken. 2

The vote on the bill itself was held on Saturday afternoon; it was adopted with a vote of 65 to 31.

Results of the latter vote were:

  • 55 Democrats, 8 Republicans, and 2 Independents voted for the measure;

  • 31 Republicans and no Democrats voted against the measure;

  • 3 Republicans and 1 Democrat did not vote.

President Obama has promised to sign the bill into law during the week of DEC-19.

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When would it be safe for lesbians, gays and bisexuals to come out of the closet?

The Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy will still remain in force even after the bill is passed by Congress and is signed into law by the President.

The next step is for the President, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of theJoint Chiefs of Staff to certify that an end to DADT can be achieved without damaging levels of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion,and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces. 60 days after this certification, and only then would the DADT policy be terminated. At that time, persons of all sexual orientations would be able serve in the military openly and without fear of expulsion. ... but no sooner.

According to some news sources, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, has the authority to suspend DADT discharges and investigations at any time. If he were to do this, it might be safer for lesbians, gays, and bisexuals to come out of the closet earlier.

But nothing is certain. If the Republican Party were to gain control of Congress and the presidency, they would probably give a high priority to re-implementing DADT. On the other hand, by that time, public support for the end of DADT might reach 80%, and they might fear a voter backlash if they were to bring the policy back. 6

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Some random Tweets were sent on the afternoon that the bill was passed:

  • keder‎ Meanwhile, the left doesn't have a single credible idea on how to repair the economy.

  • SusieMayDADT has ended! There is hope for our Country after all!

  • LindaWFellows‎: With Republicans soon to become the majority in the House, this was Obama's last best chance of enacting repeal of DADT.

  • tiff_ellis‎: Such a great day for America! DADT is dead. Amen. Thank you to all who have endured.

  • louhong‎: A bittersweet day. #DADT is repealed, #DREAM Act dies. Two steps forward, one step back.

  • ohh_d: Peace out dadt, your stupid reign has ended. YAYYYY FOR EQUALITY

  • shatteredmyth‎: DADT was never about military readiness. It was always about hate and fear. To claim otherwise is just plain dishonest.

  • aburchfield:‎ I never understood DADT, and now it's no more.

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The story continues.....

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Senate opens fire on DADT," Email, Family Research Council Action, 2010-DEC-17.
  2. Anne Falherty, "Senate advances bill to lift military gay ban," Associated Press, 2010-DEC-18, at: http://www.wtop.com/
  3. Carl Hulse, "Senate repeals 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell," New York Times, 2010-DEC-18, at: http://www.nytimes.com/
  4. Robert Knight, "Calls Needed to Senate; Vote Imminent on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," Email, Coral Ridge Ministries, 2010-DEC-18.
  5. "Organizations, leaders hail Senate vote to repeal DADT," Windy City Times, 2010-DEC-18, at: http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/
  6. Evan McMorris-Santoro, "Senate repeals Don't Ask, Don't Tell," TPMDC, 2010-DEC-18, at: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/

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Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality & Bisexuality > Challenges > DADT > here

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Copyright © 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2010-MAY-25
Latest update: 2010-DEC-18
Author: B.A. Robinson

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