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Gays in the U.S. Military - DADT

Modifying or repealing
"Don't ask, don't tell" 2010-MAY-27 to JUN-08

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Continued from a previous file

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2010-MAY-27: Senate committee and full House votes to setup eventual repeal of DADT:

The Senate Armed Forces Committee voted early on the morning of MAY-27 to repeal the Don`t Ask Don`t Tell policy conditional on the issuance of the Pentagon report on the topic that is currently scheduled for 2010-DEC, and also conditional on confirmation that repeal of DADT would not affect the Armed Forces negatively. The vote was 16 to 12 for repeal. 15 Democrats and Senator Susan Collins (ME,R) voted for the bill. The committee then voted 18 to 10 to refer the bill to the full Senate.

This was followed a few hours later by the approval of the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 234 to 194. 229 Democrats and five Republicans supported the repeal amendment. 168 Republicans and 26 Democrats opposed it.

A vote in the full Senate has been scheduled for 2010-SEP-19.

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Reactions to the actions in the Senate committee and House:

  • President Obama issued a statement, saying:

    "I am pleased that both the House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee took important bipartisan steps toward repeal tonight. This legislation will help make our Armed Forces even stronger and more inclusive by allowing gay and lesbian soldiers to serve honestly and with integrity." 1

  • The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) -- one of the leading advocates for a repeal of DADT included the following personal story in their mailing:

    "HRC's military consultant Jarrod Chlapowski relayed this story to me that should remind us all why we do this work:"

    "This morning a friend still on active duty called me to ask what I thought about today's votes. "We got it, man," I responded. He didn't believe me and frankly, I didn't quite believe it myself. As I tried to tell him how good a position we are in, the phone became silent. I asked if he was ok, only to realize he simply couldn't get the words out to respond. He was crying. We both were. Finally, a whispered `thank you`."

    "It's incredible to be faced with the thing you've been longing to see since taking the oath to serve and defend the country against all enemies foreign and domestic. I -- and many like me -- long to take the oath again. And because of events this week, I believe we will. So this is what history feels like." 2

  • CNN reported that:

    "Opponents of the repeal language said the military should first carry out the review ordered by Defense Secretary Robert Gates that is scheduled to be completed in December. Only then would military leaders have the necessary information from force members to develop a plan for carrying out the repeal, according to the opponents."

    But this is exactly what the bill calls for: for the completion of the Pentagon report, and confirmation that the resultant plan by the Pentagon will not jeopardize unit cohesiveness and military effectiveness. Finally, DADT would be repealed and LGB soldiers could be open about their sexual orientation.

    CNN continued:

    "[Secretary of Defense Robert] Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the Joint Chiefs chairman, both said this week they could accept the compromise language." 1

  • Life Site News, a pro-life and anti-gay group, reported:

    " 'We feel strongly that the current policy has served the U.S. military well for 17 years and it would not be wise to make a major cultural change in the middle of two wars,' The American Legion National Commander Clarence E. Hill wrote to the House leaders earlier this month. 'Moreover, the Department of Defense has already directed a study on the policy and it would be premature to act before the commission conducting the study releases its findings'."

    " 'Under current policy, men and women are already allowed to serve their country regardless of their sexual preference. Allowing homosexual members to announce their preference within the ranks could jeopardize the unit cohesion which is so essential to military success,' said Hill, a retired U.S. Navy captain and veteran of the Gulf War'."

    "'The military is a unique environment, in which DADT has worked well, without diminishing our nation's war-fighting capability,' Hill continued. 'Indeed, the core purpose of our military is to fight and win our nation's wars. Enacting any law that does not enhance the military's ability to accomplish that mission would be detrimental to the security of our nation. We believe that the repeal of DADT would be such an action'." 3

  • In a Washington Update, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council -- a fundamentalist Christian group -- wrote:
    "... the House and Senate are poised to risk the integrity, strength, and very future of our nation's military, just to please a small but vocal group of donors. The intent is to add an amendment that will force open homosexuality on the military. President Obama and the leaders of his party are ignoring the pleas of the military, as all four service heads--those who lead the men and women who actually understand what it means to selflessly serve America -- have said, 'Don't do this.' A majority of military associations have asked for the same respect toward our military commanders. ..."

    "This afternoon I joined Cong. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) and several other members of the House, along with about 40 pastors from around the nation, for a press conference on Capitol Hill. We asked Congress to not circumvent the very process that this Administration established to review this issue. I have never feared more for the future of my country and hope you will join me in fighting for our troops. Please continue to confront these politicians who are using the military to advance their radical social policy." 4

  • Gail Zoppo of DiversityInc wrote:

    "Rep. Murphy, a U.S. Army Iraq war veteran who introduced the DADT amendment to the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act in the House, stated in a release: 'Congress took a historic step toward repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and toward ensuring that every American has the same opportunity I did to defend our nation. Patriotic Americans willing to take a bullet for their country should never be forced to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love. I will not rest until the repeal of this discriminatory policy that hurts national security is signed into law'."

    "Aubrey Sarvis, a U.S. Army veteran and executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), echoed these sentiments in a statement. 'The U.S. House and Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee both passed a historic roadmap to allowing open military service, but it doesn’t end the discharges. It is important for all gay and lesbian active-duty service members … to know they’re at risk. They must continue to serve in silence under the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law that remains on the books. Congress and the Pentagon need to stay on track to get repeal finalized, hopefully no later than first quarter 2011'."

    "Sarvis, one of several activists who crafted the compromise pushing DADT to a vote yesterday, criticized the ninth-hour posturing by Pentagon service chiefs and said they '... seemed to have forgotten that they are not the policy makers here. That role in our government rightly belongs to Congress and it was properly exercised today in the dismantling of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'." 5

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Chairperson of House Armed Services Committee advocates silence on DADT:

Rep. Ike Shelton (D-MO) believes that the military should retain their DADT because its repeal could place families in the difficult position of answering questions that their children might have about homosexuality. He asked:

"What do mommies and daddies say to their 7-year-old child?"

He added that his "biggest concern are the families." 6

The article on CBS News produced some interesting comments:

  • Brunton 1812 posted: "Maybe we should abolish the military since I have trouble telling my 7 year old why a peace loving country trains people to kill. Explaining that all kinds of people love each other seems easy in comparison. I guess Shelton lives in a different world.

  • Lilbear925 posted: "The repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' doesn't mean parents should only NOW talk to their kids about homosexuality. It is the duty of every parent to talk to kids about everything, so they don't feel like they need to go find out themselves. Don't ask, don't tell has nothing to do with having to talk to your kids about this, NOW. You should have already done it."

  • Jmdiaz10 posted: "Well, why not just kill all gay people and be done with "the gay problem" once and for all? It seems like the best solution. Don't stop at just not talking about them, because you might as well put all your cards on the table so we can see all the bigotry, hatred, ignorance, and vile with which you view a sexual minority."

  • Drivelphobe posted: "Kids learn about this anyway and instinctively know it is wrong. You can't make something acceptable that's abhorrent by changing or making some laws. What can you tell a child about queers anyway? The only thing is to tell them to stay away from them and report any action they make that is offensive, threatening or makes one feel uncomfortable. They have to learn about harassment, the law and how to defend themselves from abuse or predation. Hate crimes go both way."

  • cjknutsom posted: "I wish I'd spoken to my son about homosexuality when he was seven. He knew long before that age that he was gay. He left the closet when he was in middle school, long before it became acceptable. Due in large part to his activism, my son's high school formed a diversity club the year after he graduated. Years later, my son is an extremely happy, well adjusted and successful young man. I couldn't be more proud of him!"

  • BobSF_94117 posted: "Speaking of 7-year-olds and how to explain things to them, how do you tell a child that one of his parents, can't phone him on his birthday because daddy is in Afghanistan and can't be put in the awkward position of saying Happy Birthday to his son because the Army doesn't know he has a son and CAN'T find out he has a son without ending daddy's career?"

  • hayjacq posted: "Actually, parents should be prepared for their own children to be homosexual or intersexual. These conditions may not be identified early in life, and for the best health of children, they should be raised with a sexuality neutral tone. Young children don't actually think about sex in any way other than a determination of gender. Small children should simply be told that sometimes two guys or girls love each other in as neutral a tone as you can muster. There is a reason gay children/teens are miserable and commit more suicides. They grow up in a hostile environment. Oh, and I have three children, two of whom are in college and one is a senior in High school. They were raised with a sexuality neutral tone, and ended up heterosexuals anyway, as do the vast majority of children. Sexuality is innate. A sexuality neutral tone, is a tone in which you do not assume that your child will like boys/girls, but instead that they will have soul mate, or spouse, without specifying gender. In this way, your child will not notice that you are raising them in a sexuality neutral fashion, and they will not feel ostracized if they are homosexuals and keep it secret from you. You want your child to tell you that they are homosexual as young as possible so you can help them avoid the dangers that may befall them without a carrying loving parent around. Oh, and don't try to "cure" them if they are homosexual; it is a natural phenomenon that cannot be cured. I mean, you can't cure blue eyes, although you can wear brown contacts."

  • Zann-Zel posted: "Why do people find talking to children so difficult? All you have to do is give a simple answer. Don't try to explain everything they'll ever need to know to a 4 year old. Just answer the one question they asked, with an answer a kid that age can understand" ' Mommy why are those two people holding hands?' ' They like each other.' Kid moves on...." 6

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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 panel, House approve 'don't ask, don't tell' compromise plan,`CNN, 2010-MAY-28, at:http://www.cnn.com/
  2. Joe Solmonese, "Breaking: Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell repeal moves forward," Human Rights Campaign mailing, 2010-MAY-27.
  3. "Group Representing 2.5M Wartime Veterans to Congress: Keep 'Don't Ask'," LifeSiteNews.com, 2010-MAY-27, at: http://www.lifesitenews.com/
  4. Tony Perkins, "Playing politics with our soldiers," Family Research Council, 2010-MAY, at: http://www.frc.org/
  5. Gail Zoppo, "Congress approves 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal," DiversityInc, 2010-MAY-28. at: http://www.diversityinc.com/
  6. "Lawmaker Warns "Don't Ask" Repeal Means Talking to Kids About Homosexuality," Associated Press, 2010-JUN-08, at: http://www.cbsnews.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-19
Author: B.A. Robinson

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