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Gays in the U.S. Military - DADT policy

More reactions to the DADT repeal law. Two
personal stories during late 2010-December

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Continued from a previous file

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More reactions to the bill becoming law:

  • Ben Adler of Newsweek reported on the larger goal of equality for lesbians, gays, and bisexuals:
  • "Even though gays can now serve openly in the military, advocates for their rights say there’s more work to be done. The benefits that accrue to military spouses will not be extended to gay partners, even those who are legally married in their home states. And on the big three goals of the gay-rights movement—marriage, equality, and laws protecting them against employment or public-accommodation discrimination -- gays are exactly where they were before. Some states and private companies have adopted progressive policies on gay employees. But in a state with no such protections, a hotel owner can still refuse to let a gay couple book a room, and a business owner is allowed not to hire someone on the basis of his sexual orientation. ..."

    "The DADT repeal may also change the way specific issues get framed. Consider employment discrimination. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit employers from discriminating against gay or transgender employees (transgender individuals are not covered by DADT repeal), failed to pass in this Congress, and Republicans are certain not to move it in the next one. Look ahead a few years, though, to when gay soldiers come home from war, injured or traumatized from serving their country in battle. How will it look if those individuals are unable to get a job because of their sexual orientation? The commercials arguing that ENDA should be passed on their behalf will write themselves, and could be very effective at moving moderate voters." 1
  • Richard Socarides, the president of Equality Matters, a new group specializing on media messaging favoring gay rights said:

    "This is the first time Congress has passed a major, historic piece of legislation in the gay-rights area. ... Symbolically, the first is always the most important hurdle to get over, so we’re hoping for momentum from this. People will get used to voting in a certain way. It’s a barrier that has been passed. ... Once we’ve said as a government that you shouldn’t discriminate in military service, it becomes harder to argue that you should discriminate against gays in other ways." 1

  • Fred Sainz, a vice president of Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a gay-positive group, said:
  • "To a gay kid struggling with their orientation, for the first time the federal government sent a message that gays and lesbians should be out and open. It’s an incredibly powerful statement in its affirmation that will have a tremendous impact on transforming hearts and minds." 11

  • According to Ben Adler of Newsweek, in 2011, there are:

    "... three pieces of legislation HRC says Republicans may support: a bill to protect gay students from bullying, extending marriage benefits to partners of gay federal employees, and removal of the tax disadvantages of being a same-sex couple." 1

  • The essay "Confusion growing over tolerance of homosexuals" has been posted to the Jack Chick website. Chick Publications deal primarily with tracts and other booklets on anti-gay, anti-Catholic, anti-Pagan, anti-porn and other topics. The essay states, in part:
  • "The signing of the Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell repeal by President Obama is yet another advance to the mass confusion caused by the sodomite 'abomination.' It is a victory for homosexual activists, but military officials plan to use caution in implementing it.

    "Another front of attack by the sodomite lobby is called ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. If  passed by the legislature it would add 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity' to the list of protected categories that an employer cannot consider when hiring, firing or promoting someone. The bill supposedly contains a 'church exemption,' thus not forcing churches to hire someone who does not hold the church's biblical values. But what about Christian publishers, gospel bookstores, missions organizations, etc.?"

    "Until the last quarter century, our laws agreed with the Bible that sodomy was a 'preferred' behavior that people chose to do. Now, they have succeeded in selling the lie that they were born with a same-sex 'orientation.' This makes them eligible for special 'civil rights,' just like people who were born black. Using the anti-discrimination laws, they are claiming all kinds of benefits and protections for their sinful lifestyle." 2

We are unaware of "special 'civil rights' " given to people of color, or LGBTs (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons and transsexuals). All of the anti-discrimination laws that protect these groups also protect heterosexuals and cis-gendered persons equally. We are unaware of any "benefits and protections" claimed by same-sex couples other than that enjoyed by opposite-sex couples.

  • Bill James, a commissioner in Mecklenburg County, NC attacked Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) who voted to repeal DADT. He wrote:

" 'Homosexuals are sexual predators.' ... Allowing homosexuals to serve in the US military ... ignores a host of serious problems related to maintaining US military readiness and effectiveness not the least of which is the current Democrat plan to allow homosexuals (male and female) to share showers with those they are attracted to."

"The US Government would not allow Hetero men and women to share showers and other personal facilities yet the leading homosexual in Congress (Barney Frank) thinks it is OK for homosexuals to do so allowing enlisted men and women to fall prey to higher ranking or more powerful homosexuals who ogle them (or worse). ..."

"I suspect Richard Burr will pay a high electoral price for his actions but whether it boots him from office next time is unknown. I know I won’t be supporting him even if he does have an R after his name." 3

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Two personal stories by service members:

  • "Savanna's" is currently a combat medic serving in Afghanistan and is a lesbian. The Boise Weekly interviewed her. Savanna said:

"My time in service has been rough. I was aware of the DADT policy, but I don’t believe now that any soldier who DADT directly affects really understands how difficult, mentally and emotionally, hiding their true identity will be until it’s too late to turn back. ... During basic training, a small group of lesbians were unfairly blamed for being 'too close' to who was obviously a lesbian drill sergeant. I am thankful to have had a First Sergeant who stood for what he believed was right. He pulled each of the trainees facing the indiscretion aside and helped us to send home anything that could be perceived to be against the DADT policy (letters, pictures etc.) before the investigation began."

“I am willing to die for my country. Who I go home to at night and who I love should hold no substance. ... What I would give to marry the woman I’m with and move her to my duty station as my spouse." 4

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  • Korrie Xavier once served on the USS Boxer, an amphibious assault vessel. However, she found living a secret life to be too stressful. She was in her very early 20s when she was trained to maintain and fire weapons systems on the ship. Only when she was in the military did she come to terms with her sexuality and accept that she is a lesbian. She became a lay center of Jewish shipboard life, even as she hid her sexual orientation in the "closet" from all but a few fellow service members onboard. She said:
    "I loved being out to sea — in the middle of the night, when you’d hang off the fantail, and just listen to the water. It was incredibly calming, and you could see all the stars in the world."
    Her immediate family of origin was also adversely affected by the DADT policy. They had to be careful what they said to friends and families in case they accidentally "outed" her and terminated her career.

    After four years in to her six-year commitment she wrote a letter to the captain in which she revealed her orientation. It said, in part:
    "For the last few years, I’ve been willing to compromise myself. ... I realize now that there is no honor or pride in serving an institution that is so obviously ashamed of me."
    Within months she was separated from the Navy, against her wishes. She now lives in the Boston with her wife of two years -- a doctor of psychology. The were married in a Jewish ceremony by a rabbi.

    She is debating reenlisting if the DADT policy is finally lifted. She said:
    "Politically I have such issues with the military, and at the same time I miss it. I don’t think I would re-enlist. I think the part of me that wants to re-enlist is the little boy who wants to watch war movies. But there is something about that shared experience, to me, that is appealing."5

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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. Ben Adler, "Looking beyond don't ask, Don't Tell," Newsweek Magazine, 2010-DEC-22, at: http://www.newsweek.com/
  2. "Confusion Growing over Tolerance of Homosexuals," Chick Publications, 2010-DEC, at: http://www.chick.com/
  3. Igor Volsky, "NC Lawmaker Lashes Out At Burr For DADT Repeal Vote: 'Homosexuals Are Sexual Predators'," Think Progress, 2010-DEC-30, at: http://thinkprogress.org/
  4. Jody May-Chang, "Idaho Soldier Serving from the Closet. DADT Repeal Doesn't Lift All Burdens," Boise Weekly, 2010-DEC-30, at: http://www.boiseweekly.com/
  5. Karen Loew, "Double marker: A gay Jew in the Navy," Forward newspaper, 2010-DEC-29, at: http://www.forward.com/

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Copyright © 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2010-DEC-27
Latest update: 2011-JAN-01
Author: B.A. Robinson

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