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Gays in the U.S. Military: Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy

2011-JUL: Reactions to the President's statement
2011-NOV: DADT repeal uneventful; Law cleanup

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Continued from a previous section discussing same-sex marriage on military bases

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2011-JUL: Reactions to the President's statement:

  • Family Research Council (FRC) is an evangelical Christian advocacy group. It will be rated as an anti-gay hate group during 2011 by the Southern Poverty Law Center -- an organization that monitors hate groups in the U.S. 1 The FRC president, Tony Perkins, said:

    "Twenty-four percent of service members said repeal would have a negative impact on their 'intentions to remain in the military, a number six times higher than those who said it would have a positive effect."

    "President Obama, Secretary Panetta and Admiral Mullen have no basis -– other than liberal political correctness -– for 'certifying' that a reversal of this longstanding policy would do no harm. ..."

    "[T]he Pentagon's biased report on the subject last year illustrated the dangers of using the military for social engineering. "Sixty-two percent foresaw at least some negative effects, and the report conceded that in open forums, 'the majority of views were against repeal'."

    "The entire process by which the Obama administration has orchestrated repeal of this law was dishonest from the start. The recent revelation of a Defense Department Inspector General's report on unauthorized leaks to the media showed that the conclusions of the Pentagon's report on repeal had already been written before the troops were even asked their views."

    The Christian Post states that Perkins is urging Congress to stop the implementation of the repeal and to investigate "this scandal." 6

Predictions of a mass exodus from the military has been suggested in other countries in the past. Outside the Beltway has commented:

"A couple of dozen countries already allow gays in uniform -- including allies that have fought alongside our troops, such as Britain, Canada, and Australia. Just as there is plenty of opposition in the U.S. ranks, there was plenty of opposition when they changed their policies.

In Canada, 45 percent of service members said they would not work with gay colleagues, and a majority of British soldiers and sailors rejected the idea. There were warnings that hordes of military personnel would quit and promising youngsters would refuse to enlist.

But when the new day arrived, it turned out to be a big, fat non-event. The Canadian government reported 'no effect.' The British government observed 'a marked lack of reaction.' An Australian veterans group that opposed admitting gays later admitted that the services 'have not had a lot of difficulty in this area'." 2

Perkins did not mention a compensating factor. By allowing LGBTs to freely serve, they will not live in the constant fear of being exposed and dismissed from the military. They will be able to more effectively concentrate on their jobs. This might result in their having an overall positive influence on unit cohesion and morale, at least in the long term.

  • OutServe hails DADT certification: OutServe is a group of actively serving LGBT military in the U.S. They issued a press release stating:

    "OutServe, the association of actively serving LGBT military personnel, hailed the announcement that Secretary of Defense Panetta, President Obama and Admiral Mullen certified the repeal of 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' today.

    'This is a welcome step, and reflects what our members are saying, that the military is ready to move beyond ‘DADT’,' said 'JD Smith,' OutServe’s active-duty co-director, who is identified by a pseudonym while “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is still in effect. 'In 60 days, my life and the lives of thousands of other gay and lesbian troops changes. I cannot be more proud to be able to serve during this time.'

    This day has been a long time in coming. Soon, we will see that gay and lesbian troops demonstrate the same professionalism that is the hallmark of our armed forces, and that all military personnel will prove more professional than some have given them credit for,' added OutServe spokesperson and combat vet Jonathan Hopkins. 'Through our work with the Pentagon, we are confident they have worked hard to devise smart policies as we move forward. As we move forward, what matters most is leadership'."able to reintroduce a new DADT bill and sign it into law. Some Republican candidates for the presidency in 2012 have added the repeal of the repeal of DADT to their political platforms. It might well weaken their candidacies because by the election day in 2012-NOV, support for an end to DADT will probably exceed 80% of the American population. 3

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2011-SEP-20: The Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy ended. But is it truly dead?:

As of 12:01 AM, LGBT service members were able to come out of the closet without risking expulsion from the service. However, several Republican candidates for the presidency in 2012 have included a restoration of the DADT policy in their platforms. The DADT policy will probably be reactivated if the Republican party were to capture the presidency, House and Senate in 2012. However, by that time, the percentage of American adults who would wish that DADT be left in the dustbin of history would probably exceed 85%. The Republican party would suffer significant loss in support if it were to try to reinstate DADT.

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2011-NOV-24: Effects of the end of DADT; Change to Uniform Code of Military Justice:

After slightly more than two months following the end of the DADT policy, it would appear that no significant problems involving military discipline, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, military recruitment and military retention have materialized. The fears of social and religious conservatives have fizzled.

General James F. Amos, who heads the Marines, had publicly opposed the repeal of DADT. During 2010-DEC, he testified to Congress that he anticipated negative effects on unit cohesion. However, on 2011-NOV-28, he said that he is pleased at how smoothly the military has adapted to the change. During the previous week, he had held more than a dozen town-hall meetings with Marines in Afghaistan, and wasn't asked even once about the DADT repeal. He said: "I’m very pleased with how it has gone." 4

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2011-NOV-24: Senate approves bill to remove ban on same-gender sexual activity:

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) still contains Article 125 which states:

"(a) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense.

(b) Any person found guilty of sodomy shall be punished as a court-martial may direct."

"Unnatural carnal copulation" is an old-fashioned language for anal intercourse, which as the Article implies is performed by heterosexuals, bisexuals and homosexuals. The first part of this article which bans such activity between two humans is obviously incompatable with the repeal of the DADT policy. Thus, bill S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act includes a clause to repeal Article 125 in its entirety. Apparently, the military decided that bestiality -- sex between humans and animals -- in the military is not a significant problem, because they decided to try to repeal the entire Article. Some military lawyers have expressed the opinion that bestiality can still be prosecuted under Article 134 which covers offenses against "good military order and discipline."

Bill S. 1867 was passed by a vote of 93 to 7 in the Senate.

Tony Perkins, President of the fundamentalist Christian advocacy group Family Research Council said:

"It’s all about using the military to advance this administration’s radical social agenda. Not only did they overturn Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but they had another problem, and that is, under military law sodomy is illegal, just as adultery is illegal, so they had to remove that prohibition against sodomy. ... Well, whether it was inadvertent or not, they have also taken out the provision against bestiality. So now, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), there’s nothing there to prosecute bestiality." 5

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2011-SEP-23: Ex-Senator Rick Santorum promises to reinstate DADT:

A few days after DADT was terminated, Stephen Hill, a gay soldier serving in Iraq, asked a question at a Fox News/Google Republican presidential candidates debate. Hill asked all the candidates whether they would attempt to reinstate the DADT repeal if they became president. A few members of the audience booed; a few clapped their hands. Only Rick Santorum responded to the question. He said:

"I would say any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military. The fact they are making a point to include it as a provision within the military that we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege to, and removing don't ask don’t tell. I think tries to inject social policy into the military. And the military's job is to do one thing: to defend our country." 7

Megyn Kelly of Fox News asked Santorum what he would do with Hill if he became president. He replied with the answer to a different question:

"What we are doing is playing social experimentation with our military right now. That’s tragic."

Later. he said that the would reinstate DADT but would allow lesbian and gay service members who had come out of the closet after 2011-SP to stay. 7

It may be that Santorum is unfamiliar with the workings of DADT. From 1993 to 2011, lesbian and gay service members could not mention their sexual orientation or risk being thrown out of the military. It was heterosexuals who were given "a special privilege" to freely talk about their opposite-sex relationships. Since DADT was repealed, servicemembers of all sexual orientations live under the same rules. Nobody has "special privileges."

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This topic continues in the next essay

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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. "Anti-Gay Groups, on the Defensive After Criticism, Lash Out," Southern Poverty Law Center, 2011 Spring issue, at: http://www.splcenter.org/
  2. James Joyner, "Gays in the military" Other countries do it." 2010-FEB-2010, at: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/
  3. "OutServe Hails DADT Certification," Outserve, 2011-JUL-22, at: http://outserve.org/
  4. "Marine chief: DADT repeal is working," Politico, 2011-NOV-28, at: http://www.politico.com/
  5. Senate Approves Bill that Legalizes Sodomy and Bestiality in U.S. Military, undated, but believed to be 2011-NOV-24, at: http://patriot-newswire.com/
  6. Nathan Black, "Homosexuals Can Serve Openly in Military in September," Christian Post, 2011-JUL-22, at: http://www.christianpost.com/
  7. Lost link
  8. "Furor fades a year after military's gay ban lifted," USA Today, 2012-SEP-16, at: http://www.freep.com/
  9. "First Study of Openly Gay Military Service Finds ;Non-Event; at One-Year Mark," Palm Center, 2012-SEP-10, at: http://www.palmcenter.org/

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Copyright © 2011 & 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2011-JUL-21
Latest update: 2012-SEP-17

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