Why DADT?

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Let me start this post by stating I think Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell should be repealed, and that homosexuals should be free to serve openly in the military. I also think it’s shameful that people who have served their country honorably, and in some cases have risked their lives, have been discharged because of whom they choose to love. In cases like the linguists who were dismissed for their sexuality, DADT has also likely harmed national security.

That said, I find it interesting that military service became such a touchstone issue for gay rights. After gay marriage, it’s really the gay issue right now. I’m a white, straight male from suburban Indiana. So I haven’t suffered much discrimination in my life, save for rarely getting a foul call when I play pick-up basketball at the Y. (That’s a joke. It’s true. But it’s a joke.) But I’d think if I were a member of a group fighting for equal treatment, the right to go off to die in the pet war of whoever is currently occupying the White House would pretty low on my list of priorities. I’d think this would be especially true of the gay community which, if I may stereotype, I’d guess on average is less militaristic and gung-ho war than the general population. (If there’s data showing that I’m wrong here, I’m willing to be wrong here.)

Gay marriage is probably the only gay rights issue that gets more attention than DADT right now. And prioritizing gay marriage makes sense. But there’s comparably little coverage, debate, or discussion, for example, about laws against gay adoption, which it seems to me affect a much larger percentage of the gay community, deal with a much more basic right, and are quite a bit more damaging, both to gay parents who want kids and to the kids who legislators have decided are better off in a group home or rotating through foster homes than in stable homes with same sex parents. (Some of these laws bar adoption by unmarried parents gay or straight, but in states that forbid gay marriage, the effect is to bar gay people from adopting).

Or how about the fact that federal law basically bars private employers from offering the same health insurance benefits to domestic partners that they do to married hetero couples? Some companies do offer such benefits, but the employed partner is taxed at such an obscenely high rate for the partner’s benefit that the benefit becomes far more expensive than it’s worth. (I’m speaking from experience—I signed on for my ex-girlfriend’s former employer’s domestic partner health insurance benefit a few years ago, and we were surprised with a monster tax bill the next year. Even the company’s HR people weren’t aware of the penalty.). I should add here that I’d ideally like to see health insurance severed from employment. But if the tax benefit is there, it strikes me as patently unfair to give huge tax breaks to committed heterosexual couples, but effectively negate any efforts of private employers to offer committed homosexual couples the same benefit (domestic partners benefits are taxed as income on both the employer and employee side).

I guess my point is that there has been a lot of political capital spent on getting DADT repealed, and it seems to me that while the resulting benefit would be symbolic and obviously important to the gay servicemen and women who would be able to serve without being required to lie about who they are, the population of people directly effected seems to be comparably small.

This isn’t necessarily a criticism. I’m genuinely curious, and wondering if anyone has theories as to why this particular issue has become so heated.

MORE: Just to clarify, when I wrote “I’d think this would be especially true of the gay community which, if I may stereotype, I’d guess on average is less militaristic and gung-ho war than the general population,” I wasn’t referring to stereotypes about masculinity. I was referring to the fact (at least I think it’s a fact — a very cursory Google search seems to bear it out) that the gay community disproportionately aligns with the left, and gay activists with the far left, which I think would suggest that they’re more likely than the general population to be be both anti-war and generally anti-military. (If there are public opinion polls showing otherwise, show me!) My point is, given that, it seems counterintuitive that the right to openly serve in the military and fight in wars would become such a priority.

That said, I think the comments below about symbolism and the added insult of  discrimination coming directly from the federal government make sense.

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117 Responses to “Why DADT?”

  1. #1 |  Taktix® | 

    Simple.

    Repealing DADT, unlike gay-couple marriage or adoption, has it’s own built-in political defense: appearing as if you don’t “support the troops” is a political third-rail…

  2. #2 |  DarkEFang | 

    My guess is that gay rights activists believe that as long as the federal government discriminates against gays, then state and local governments have no incentive to stop discrimination at those levels. As far as I know, DADT is the only federal law that discriminates against gays. If it isn’t, it’s definitely the most visible one.

  3. #3 |  Taktix® | 

    …and by that, I don’t mean to say it’s a bad thing. Politics is, sadly, the art of the possible, and sometimes you have slip a few things in the back door…

  4. #4 |  ClassAction | 

    It’s primarily symbolic. For better or worse, service in the military is considered to be a form of civic participation. It’s one thing to be denied benefits in your “personal” life, and quite another to be denied a form of supposedly meaningful civic participation in your government. It’s also one of the (very) few ways that you can tie gay rights in with overt American nationalism/patriotism. It’s also ‘low hanging fruit’ because the gay rights movement overestimated Obama’s support for ending DADT, but more or less correctly identified the general mood towards abolishing it.

    Plus, it’s kind of a bellweather. Once gays CAN go openly fight and die for their country, it’s going to be a lot harder to deny Real American Heroes the right to, you know, go back to their home states and adopt unwanted babies and such.

  5. #5 |  Chuchundra | 

    Because one way for oppressed groups to nose their way into mainstream society is by serving in the military

  6. #6 |  DarkEFang | 

    Integrating the military was the first step towards ending Jim Crowe.

  7. #7 |  Mister DNA | 

    Because one way for oppressed groups to nose their way into mainstream society is by serving in the military

    Quite true. The Civil Rights movement for Hispanics in South Texas was started by veterans who went to college on the GI Bill. They made a startling discovery while at college: the Constitution applies to everyone, and they didn’t have to vote for Lyndon Johnson if they didn’t want to.

  8. #8 |  PW | 

    Because it’s not a hypothetical for the tens of thousands of GLB people who are veterans and who are currently serving, and the overwhelming majority of the country wants it fixed. It’s something that, unlike gay marriage and murky healthcare red tape, everyone (except for Congress and Obama, evidently) agrees on. The “stereotype” might be that they’re all effeminate and whatever; the fact is that there are a LOT more gay Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines than either party is willing to admit, and they are doing a damn fine job and should not be blackmailed by the government.

  9. #9 |  Bob | 

    Well, see. There was this book. It was compiled from a collection of 66 fictional short stories about 1700 years ago. Now… that’s not the really important book for this subject. See, there is another book, that’s the collection of 5 different collections of writings from different people, one of them was some wackjob named “Leviticus” (A pseudonym, by the way). Anyway, Leviticus way hated on the gays, and shellfish. And the practice of boiling a young goat in it’s own mother’s milk. And eating bacon. All of these things were punishable by death. Or something like that.

    Anyway.

    The first book was adopted by some cult as it’s holy scripture. No… wait, that’s not right. The cult started 300 years before the book was compiled. After the cult took off it was reverse engineered into a religion, THEN the book was compiled. Or something like that. It’s really convoluted.

    Anyway.

    The book also says to follow the teachings of the other book, the one made from the 5 collections of writings, but doesn’t specify which of the insane, barely comprehensible shit should be included.

    As such, current adherents to the religion that evolved from the original cult (But actually has almost nothing to do with it) are instructed to hate the gays. But bacon and shellfish are ok. I think the jury is still out on the boiling a young goat in it’s mother’s own milk thing.

  10. #10 |  ChrisD | 

    I think it’s because there are already gay soldiers, who have to hide. It’s just acknowledging what’s already there.

    Gay adoption is mostly gotten around by single adults adopting, something that could get actual negative publicity with the wrong scaremonger. That issue could actually move backwards with the wrong kind of news story or whatever, so it might be a scary one to push.

  11. #11 |  Joe | 

    I don’t dispute what you are saying. Frankly, married and single people should be taxed the same. If we are giving credits for raising a family, and yes there is a benefit to society for that, give the tax credit for the children raised regardless if you are hetero or gay.

    And I would prefer we could buy our own health insurance from pools with pre tax dollars. Otherwise at work you have to basically take the least objectionable program.

  12. #12 |  Joe | 

    As Barry Goldwater said about gays in the military, “…all that matters is if they can shoot straight.”

  13. #13 |  CC | 

    Because the Vietnam war, fought with an integrated miliary, was a major turning point for civil rights for African Americans.

    CC

  14. #14 |  Cappy | 

    Funny how you brought this up, just before I came here to read, I posted this on my FB page:

    “For those of you against gays in the military, may I suggest you sign up and take their place.”

    As it is, I served in the US Army for 9 years and got to know two soldiers of the homosexual persuasion, both of differing genders. These two soldiers served honorably and tirelessly and I never had a problem serving alongside them.

    I think the importance of this lies on two things, the Constitution and the un-Constitutional Civil Rights Act. As citizens we can discriminate against any type of person. Whether that person is black, white, yellow, purple, grey or even openly gay. The Constitution does not constrain the private individual. On the same token the Constitution does constrain the government and government must not discriminate against one of it’s citizens. Since the military is an arm of the government, then the ranks of the military should be open to all citizens who wish to join (with some exceptions) and being gay does not constitute disqualification.

    The Army likes to quote unit cohesion and discipline as a means to keep homosexuals from joining the ranks as they think being gay will disrupt both. The homosexual doesn’t have a problem with being gay, it’s the other guys (or gals).

  15. #15 |  von | 

    I agree with Chuchundra, and add:

    1. Symbols matter. A little of the facism of Starship Troopers enters here: If a nation let’s someone be a soldier, it eventually becomes impossible to deny that such a someone as a citizen.

    2. History matters. The integration of the military was the sine qua non of the Civil Rights movements. It worked once; why not try it again?

    3. Education matters. The military is a great equalizer in America. Living, training, and fighting with someone makes one realize the inconsequential.

    4. Perspective matters. The nancy-boy stereotype you allude to in your post isn’t the norm. Have a couple out folks wearing bronze stars does something to challenge a pernicious stereotype. (I mean this not as personal criticism, because the stereotype you note surely exists.)

    In any event, those are guesses. I’m a straight dude who grew up in a college town in Indiana.

  16. #16 |  delta | 

    “Some companies do offer such benefits, but the employed partner is taxed at such an obscenely high rate for the partner’s benefit that the benefit becomes far more expensive than it’s worth.”

    Actually, I got domestic partner status with my girlfriend so I could share my employer’s health insurance with her a couple years ago. There is a significant addition to my taxes, but it’s less than buying health insurance outright would cost.

  17. #17 |  EH | 

    I would guess that one of the big reasons is that they grew up wanting to be in the military, just like with everybody else.

  18. #18 |  Cynical in CA | 

    “I’m genuinely curious, and wondering if anyone has theories as to why this particular issue has become so HEATED.”

    I suggest we turn to the Laws of Thermodynamics for the answer:

    0. When two systems, each in its own thermodynamic equilibrium, are put in purely thermal connection, radiative or material, with each other, there will be a net exchange of heat between them unless or until they are in thermal equilibrium.

    Heterosexuality and homosexuality, in a thermal connection, are moving toward equilibrium, so there is a net exchange of heat between the two. This is evidenced by how upset some heteros get over this issue. Their heat gets transferred to the homos. It’s just a matter of time now.

    1. Energy can be neither created nor destroyed. It can only change forms.
    In any process in an isolated system, the total energy remains the same.

    Some heteros are worried that their majority possession of the finite amount of energy in the system is being transferred away to the homos, and these heteros are resisting the move to equilibrium.

    2. Spontaneous natural processes increase entropy overall. Heat can spontaneously flow from a higher-temperature region to a lower-temperature region, but not the other way around.

    Some heteros are upset that their desired order is descending into the chaos of entropy. Some heteros believe intuitively that they possess the heat and it is being siphoned off by the “colder” homos, and without great effort (adding more energy to the system) it must be this way.

    3. As temperature approaches absolute zero, the entropy of a system approaches a constant minimum.

    If there weren’t any homophobes, and thus no heated controversy, there would be no chaos.

    Hmm.

    Then again, if there weren’t any homos, there would be no chaos either. And with that, the homophobes take us back to the zeroth principle and we start again ….

  19. #19 |  EH | 

    Oh, and also: any leader who tells you it’s a problem is a lazybones. Soldiers will think and do whatever you tell them to do, that’s the entire purpose of the chain of command. Sorry Mr. Cybernetics, but once you’re creating a killing machine, sexual preference is just spray paint on the chassis. Plus, I’m sure many if not most military dudes have already learned to fend off unwanted attention from their church elders long before they hit boot camp.

  20. #20 |  Cynical in CA | 

    #9 | Bob

    Nevermind, I’m going with Bob on this one ….

  21. #21 |  Dave Krueger | 

    You know what they say: Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.

    Given the U.S. propensity for war, it’s only a matter of time before the ranks need to be stocked with fresh cannon fodder using that handy dandy tool known as the draft. Someday in the future gays may wish they hadn’t campaigned do hard for the patriotic right to make the ultimate sacrifice (ie: piss their lives away to satisfy some President’s dream to go down in history as the country’s savior).

  22. #22 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    Since we live in a country that just loves perpetual wars, dumps an incredibly impossible and insane amount of money towards the military, and will wave a flag and hoot and holler at any yellow ribbon, jet fighter or uniformed soldier, it makes perfect sense that military service would be an item of interest for the LGBT community.

    As I’ve stated before, I’m ex Navy. And yes, there were gays serving then (stop it with the Village People jokes). And more than once did I see people get discharged for it (usually as a form of retribution or a way to “weed” out slightly sub-standard performers). For the most part, though, no one cared. Really. It was a non-issue. Then again, the one’s with the most concern would not have said anything in the first place…

  23. #23 |  tim | 

    There is no logical reason to ban gays in the military. Wingnuts are pushing this forward as a wedge issue and giving it more press then it would normally get. A conservative group (log cabin republicans) call their bluff. Courts ask for evidence which the wingnuts can’t provide.

    If you want to blame anybody on why this is a hot button issue – blame the wingnuts.

    @Cynical in CA

    you are a complete idiot.

  24. #24 |  Jesse | 

    I am a Christian that works (as the resident IT person) at an evangelical Christian church. However in full disclosure, I am also a Rothbardian anarcho-capitalist in my political philosophy.

    My question is this: why is the government involved in licensing whom gets to marry whom. This is not a government issue. It’s a personal one, involving one’s self, one’s partner, and whatever church or belief system one subscribes to.

    In arguing different topics with one particular rather liberal pastor involved with my church, we agreed on this premise: government should not be involved in marriage in any way. Government should not be issuing marriage licences.

    One would think that virtually everyone could agree on this, except for the most virulent social conservative types, so removing government marriage license should be a non-issue. So why isn’t it?

    Because the government has mandated that private-sector, privately-owned businesess hire people with whose philosophy and lifestyle they may disagree with. And government has also mandated that private businesess have to offer all the same family benefits to people no matter who they may be married to, or living with.

    So privately-owned business has, in effect, no “right to assemble”, as long as it’s for economic purposes. Hence the libertarian opposition to certain “civil rights” laws.

    Though I am a Christian who believes homosexuality is immoral, I would never outlaw it. However I would also allow any private group, business, or any other group of free citizens to choose how and why they associate with each other, no matter what reason period. Business owners can choose to employ whomever they want for any reason they want, period. Heteros can mandate heterosexuality, and homosexual business owners can choose to only employ homosexuals if they choose. Same for any race of people or creed or belief or whatever.

  25. #25 |  Jesse | 

    Correction:

    After having read Radley’s full commentary, understood that certain couples get things that others do not.

    The question that still remains is this: Why is any private-sector organization, business, or whatever, required to give benefits or whatever to anyone with whom they disagree? Even including those in their employ?

    Unless an employee has a signed contract stipulating the benefits one might recieve, including those extended to family members of any type, private-sector employees should be free to hire and fire at will. And I mean entirely AT WILL. Are you too loud chewing your sandwich in the breakroom? You are fired, if they want to. That is liberty. Don’t like it? Start your own company and you can chew your food as loud as you want.

  26. #26 |  Jesse | 

    sorry I meant private EMPLOYERS should be able to hire and fire at will.

  27. #27 |  J Mo | 

    Jesse,

    How you can find the private, consenting acts between individuals that harms no one to be immoral is beyond me. Do yourself a favor and cut the crap. You are a libertarian minded person like me so you have to admit this, either god is totally incompetent, or he’s the biggest asshole in the universe to let a world exist that’s as screwed up as ours is, as is evident from the daily posts here at the Agitator.

  28. #28 |  Nathan | 

    DADT is like white people 150 years ago complaining they can’t effectively be slaves because their skin is too light.

  29. #29 |  Jesse | 

    Oh and one more thing: As long as we are talking about being employed by the government, well frankly, they don’t get to pick and choose anything. They take money from all of us, gay, straight, no matter what color or creed.

    The government made the bed, they have to lie in it. If they want to take taxes from everyone regardless of race or creed or belief or whatever, then they should be forced to accept whomever is willing (or stupid enough) to take them up on their perverted offer of foreign wars for conquest.

  30. #30 |  Jesse | 

    J MO—-

    What I believe is my issue. I have known gay people, and been friendly with them, and I would never stand in their way or try to enjoin the government to do so on my behalf. What I think and believe and whom I choose to associate myself with is my choice.

    I think Radley would agree with me on that point, and that is pretty much the main point. I’ll try to persuade people I know with reason or faith or whatever, to agree with me, but they don’t have to, and if they don’t, I’ll leave it at that.

  31. #31 |  Episiarch | 

    @Cynical in CA

    you are a complete idiot.

    tim, Cynical was partly making a joke and partly pointing out that the more people get agitated about letting gays in the military, the more gays may take notice and fight for their right to serve openly. I would say his point boils down to: if there was a club that starting making loud noises about how people named “tim” were not allowed to join that club, a lot of people named “tim” might start saying “why the hell not?”

    I didn’t find his tongue-in-cheek analogy hard to understand.

  32. #32 |  GT | 

    Mr Balko, you keep me comin’ back. Yet another terrific article.

    My thoughts:L

    {tl;dr version: DADT’s a diversionary trap, and the US is fucked}

    For me (a straight, white guy from nowhere in particular – and former trained killer for the Govvamint of Straya), the reason DADT is the ‘hot button issue’ is because the political class thrives on false outrage.

    So DADT is aimed mostly art activating the glassy-eyed jowly retards on the US Far Right, who get all gooey in the groin whenever they think of the US Death Machine… and so they get agitated beyond belief at the idea that a bunch of Jessies might be trying o touch Our Boys’ junk while Our Boys are heroically killing foreign babies.

    You know the type of folks I’m talking about – the shining eyed zealot idiots who wore BandAids to the RNC Convention in 2004… or the user base of FreeRetardlic.

    Anyway – an outraged base is an ACTIVE base.

    So DADT is not about a genuine dialogue between the political hierarchy of the US, and the gay bits of the population… it’s about throwing some fresh meat to the slavering hounds of the Right.

    As to why the Gay movement falls for it (as opposed to trying to get some genuine progress about more quotidian discrimination)?

    Well, I think they’ve been had, and they lack coherent and intelligent leadership; they are nowhere near as savvy as they like to believe (think of the gay ‘lobby’ as being something like the Apple user base [iCult]: convinced of their urbanity, they fall for the most ludicrous shit on the planet).

    That’s why the two big issues for teh gheys, are DADT and marriage (aka getting your relationship ‘ratified’ by the State [and/or a church]); as if it makes one iota of difference to the relationship itself. Fucking retarded; it’s bad enough when heteros go through the stupidity of Princess for a Day… in order to get The Man’s imprimatur on their relationship which will, on balance of probabilities, end in divorce.

    Just by way of observation: you Yanks are FAR too obsessed with what third parties do with their genitals; to those of us who live in the civilised West, it looks fucking insane (like your country’s religiosity… how we all laugh! Jeebus-freak “Pro Lifers” who support killing only BROWN, FOREIGN babies).

    Ahhh, Merika (FUCK YEAH!!!1!!1!!!11!)… the sooner it’s done, the better.

    Cheerio

    GT
    Straya

  33. #33 |  JOR | 

    I think everyone should be prohibited equally from working as armed enforcers and massacrers for criminal overclasses.

  34. #34 |  KBCraig | 

    I personally know two soldiers who are currently in Iraq, who are not just lovers, but who are serving in the same unit and have arranged to live together in the same “CHU” (Containerized Housing Unit).

    Oh, wait… those two are my son and his wife. *whew*… for a minute there, I thought the entire military would collapse, but it turns out that it’s okay because they’re a legally married heterosexual couple.

  35. #35 |  J.S. | 

    Why DADT? Because the marriage issue isn’t getting anywhere and won’t for at least 1-2 generations and as many have pointed out here, the military angle gets more support from the populace. Its also a good distraction from other issues for all sides of the political divide.

    I can’t really give a damn anymore. There are far more important issues facing us as a country than gay marriage or dadt. I’m tired of the gay agenda/politics shoving their beliefs down my throat (pun intended). Its gone from wanting equality/parity aka tolerance to forcing acceptance. You won’t win converts that way and change takes time, sad to say. Promoting hate crimes laws and PC culture in general has led me to pretty much vote no on those issues if they come up just to spite their proponents. Sodomy laws are stupid, consenting adults should be able to do whom they want to in their own homes but from my perspective, the gay lobby has become as bad as the bible thumpers they repeatedly bash.

    Though I would like to see what would happen to gay men and women if they got the state to grant them marriage “licenses” when they get to divorce court. Watch many get tossed through that meat griner and realize how screwed up the system is they want to join.

  36. #36 |  joe b | 

    I think it interesting that, since Obama has indicated he does not favor DADT, his appealing the judge’s ruling that DADT is unconstitutional clearly signals he thinks DADT is, nevertheless, consistent with the constitution. As president he is sworn to uphold the constitution. As president he is responsible to defend legislation that is challenged in the courts. However, having sworn to defend the constitution he cannot then defend legislation that is unconstitutional. The president can not both abide by his sworn duty to uphold the constitution and defend unconstitutional laws in court.

    Obama defending DADT against a ruling that it is unconstitutional must necessarily require him to think DADT IS constitutional, albeit, not to his liking.

  37. #37 |  SJE | 

    Why fight against DADT: because it makes the religious right squirm. On one hand, they are proud, patriotic americans but OMG they are gay! Drive this stake in the heart of the bigots and then we can discuss other issues.

  38. #38 |  Mike H | 

    I think it interesting that, since Obama has indicated he does not favor DADT, his appealing the judge’s ruling that DADT is unconstitutional…

    I really wish he’d explain himself here. Probably, it’s politically inconvenient right now. When the election dust settles, perhaps he’ll enlighten us…

  39. #39 |  PW | 

    This is the problem with most group identity-based political movements. They tend to gravitate towards issues with high symbolic value and lots of media fluff, but comparatively little meaningful accomplishment.

    Consider the NAACP for analogy. If they really wanted to accomplish something on an issue that affects black people, they’d focus on the police state, criminal justice reform, the discriminatory drug war etc. Do they though? No. Instead their highest profile issues are issuing reports claiming “racism” in the tea party, or stirring up some stupid meaningless symbolic shit about the confederate flag. This is what happens when you have professional “activists” take charge and purport to speak on behalf of whatever group identity movement they claim to represent.

    I’d venture to guess that the gay movement is experiencing the same phenomenon.

  40. #40 |  MikeZ | 

    As a straight white guy I’m only theorizing, but the hypocrisy factor for DADT is pretty darn high. With gay marriage the government clearly comes down on the side of bigotry. With DADT the government says you can make a perfectly good soldier as long as you lie about who you are. From reading and people I know coming out seems to be a pretty big deal mental health wise.

  41. #41 |  PW | 

    Another thing – with DADT we may be witnessing some aspect of the “poke em in the eye” effect. I cannot for the life of me figure out why any sane individual, gay or straight, would ever want to enlist in the US military. But it does seem to be the case that many people view it as a bastion of conservative society. If your goal is to disrupt and break through societal norms that you find objectionable and do so in the splashiest, most controversial, attention-generating way possible, you pick a target that has high symbolic value even if its actual results are very low in comparison to other issues.

    A few years ago, the gay movement was targeting the Boy Scouts for similar reasons even though the actual number of gays affected by the Scouts’ policies were nearly negligible in the grander scheme of things, and even though the Scouts are a private organization.

  42. #42 |  Stephen | 

    I served in the navy on a ship with an all male crew and I am against DADT. I do believe that certain behaviors should be banned while on such a ship. It’s not what you are that is the problem, it’s how you behave in the company of others while doing your job.

    A small percentage of gay people seem to feel an irresistible need to broadcast their gayness to everybody around even when we just don’t want to hear it. Those people do cause problems and should be fired for causing trouble. The more professional types that do not cause trouble should not be fired because of what they do on their own time off the ship.

    It’s a matter of respect for others. A flaming nancy boy type should not have the right to go dancing around in a pink tutu in close cramped sleeping quarters singing “I’m gay!” in an attempted high pitched girlish voice.

  43. #43 |  Michael Chaney | 

    From my experience, gays are no more likely to “lean left” than straights. Really loud gays that get media attention are leftists, however, so that probably feeds the stereotype. Most gays that I know don’t go seeking a lot of attention.

  44. #44 |  Edward | 

    As a DAV I wonder if when DADT is repealed will those Gay service members get to add there partner to the rolls of the VA and other Services like the Federal Goverment allows for same sex couples now? Would my partner be able to increase my pay or use the VA for health care? I could see where this would increase our current budget a lot. I won’t hold my breath. I also expected this past year to get back pay for disability pay but congress cut that provision. And only gave it to the REAL old VETS not the young VETs. The system is totally screwed up. But this comes down to the all mighty Dollar as does everything.

  45. #45 |  Stephen | 

    As far as gay marriage goes, I vote for a simple solution where the state ignores whether citizens are married or not. No special privileges for being married. Problem gone.

  46. #46 |  Fraser | 

    In his book on the issue some years back, Randy Shilts said the gay community ignored the topic for years because it skewed liberal. I don’t remember why he thought it had become more prominent.
    I’d guess it’s just luck of the draw: Clinton proposed letting gays serve openly, backed off, made DADT the compromise position. If he’d done something similar regarding gay adoption, maybe that would be the hot-button issue.
    But as someone pointed out above, for the gay soldiers who serve, this isn’t symbolic.
    “You know what they say: Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.

    Given the U.S. propensity for war, it’s only a matter of time before the ranks need to be stocked with fresh cannon fodder using that handy dandy tool known as the draft. Someday in the future gays may wish they hadn’t campaigned do hard for the patriotic right to make the ultimate sacrifice (ie: piss their lives away to satisfy some President’s dream to go down in history as the country’s savior).”

    Perhaps. But several dismissed gay soldiers have stated over the years that the military are quite willing to look the other way if they need your skills or your body, so it might not make a difference either way.

  47. #47 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I’m not sure gay rights supporters made this a big issue. The other side seemed to fight like he’ll against gays and then a court case happened.

  48. #48 |  Radley Balko | 

    A flaming nancy boy type should not have the right to go dancing around in a pink tutu in close cramped sleeping quarters singing “I’m gay!” in an attempted high pitched girlish voice.

    You’re joking, right? You really anticipate this being a problem?

  49. #49 |  TheoB | 

    It’s a safety valve. You sign up, find out it’s not what you wanted, you out yourself and the contract gets nullified. For the sake of consistency the system must also be applied to real gays.

  50. #50 |  Jim Collins | 

    “You’re joking, right? You really anticipate this being a problem?”

    At one time, yes, but not as much any more. When the Navy started putting women on combat ships, this arguement went the way of the “Dodo”.

    I have seen the good and the bad sides of this first hand. I served with one man that everybody in the squadron knew was gay. One of the nicest people you would ever want to meet. After a polite inquiry, as to my tastes, the issue was never raised again. This man was good at his job, well liked and a good friend.

    At the same time we had the exact opposite. This guy wouldn’t take no for an answer, was always making lewd comments and to be perfectly honest I couldn’t understand why he was allowed to stay in the Navy. This guy had an apartment off base and talked one of the younger guys in the squadron into moving in with him. When the guy went to move out, because he was getting married, this guy had him killed. They never did find the body and the rest of us thought that he went AWOL. I didn’t know anything about it until two detectives came knocking on my door a year after I got out and I ended up testifying in a murder trial.

    So personally I don’t know where I stand on the issue. I’m no longer a member of the military, nor am I likely to be one again. So I guess I don’t have a dog in this fight.

    Radley, if you want I can provide names and dates to verify this, but, I won’t post them here.

  51. #51 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    I have no idea if the following is accurate, but an career military friend of mine once told me that the issue is complicated by the military’s habit of using “Gay” as a legal excuse to discharge the ham-handed, the slew-footed, and the terminally inept (the kind of people you don’t want working near explosives or firearms because they are an accident waiting to happen). The military feels that they need a way to discharge people who are round pegs in square holes. I suppose that makes them no different from any other management – they all think they’re special. But one could make an argument that when dealing with the daily handling of military grade weapons, caution should perhaps trump civil rights to a degree.

    I don’t know HOW I feel about this tidbit, but I offer it as food for dispute.

  52. #52 |  SQLCowboy | 

    There’s not an issue you list that isn’t important to me as a gay man. Note: I don’t want to join the militay and I don’t want to adopt children. I am married to my partner (state only) and the whole thing about insurance and taxes REALLY makes me angry. DOMA also makes me really angry.

    The fact of it is that the media has chosen to pay attention to DADT and gay marriage to the exclusion of any other issues, for whatever reason. Ask 100 straight people if they realize that domestic partner benefits are taxed at a federal level, and 99 will probably say “really?” Even my straight-ally friends had to be educated about it when we were discussing the need for federally recognized relationships equivalent to the civil marriage contract (it’s contract law people! jeez!).

    So yeah, DADT is the 2nd loudest hot button issue in the mainstream right now because no one actually actively reports in the larger media about any of the other issues. Gay rights are in all other cases relegated to fringe media and page C12 of your newspaper. Most of America doesn’t care, because gay rights have no effect on them whatsoever.

  53. #53 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Employers moved with relative speed in adding domestic partners to insurance. Now why the holy fuck can’t the government? Yet-another reason I put my faith in markets instead of the state.

  54. #54 |  Stephen | 

    “#48 | Radley Balko | October 21st, 2010 at 8:38 am

    A flaming nancy boy type should not have the right to go dancing around in a pink tutu in close cramped sleeping quarters singing “I’m gay!” in an attempted high pitched girlish voice.

    You’re joking, right? You really anticipate this being a problem?”

    I HAVE actually seen it be a problem. It is rare but it does exist. Using this rare stuff to descriminate against ALL gay people is where I have a problem with DADT.

    One of my fellow officers in the navy actually had one of his subordinates kill someone because of this type of behavior.

  55. #55 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Jim Collins,
    I knew of a straight guy who killed a man.

  56. #56 |  Nick | 

    I suppose you could start by asking African Americans who were kept from serving in combat areas during different Wars why they would want to fight segregation to the extent they did so that they could be sent to more dangerous duty during wartime.

    Patriotism I suppose knows no sexual orientation, and for those who serve, I’m sure it feels as if they are somehow inferior, or that they are less qualified or able to fight just because of their sexual orientation.

    I see your point about how there are other battles which seem to affect more of the community… but I guess its up to them to pick their priorities. Sometimes issues like this become important not because of their actual importance to a large number of people, but because something external has made it important, and therefore people feel the need to deal with it. I suspect thats the case here.

  57. #57 |  Stephen | 

    Sigh… I almost feel like some here are deliberately misunderstanding my point.

    All I’m saying is respect those who share space with you. You try to force them to LIKE the fact that you are gay and you will fail with many if not most.

    Most gay people do just fine with the respect thing and I am absolutely against using the fact that they are gay to fire them.

  58. #58 |  Whim | 

    Funny how so many people who’ve never worn the uniform of our armed services know so much about what is best for the uniformed services, including the California Federal Judge who decided that a law was unconstitutional after it had been on the books for 17 years.

    Do you think she might be COORDINATING this action with anybody in the Obambi Administration?? Maybe?

    Let’s Review, shall we:

    The foundation of all warrior societies, and I include our military as the primary example of a warrior society, is built upon two pillars:

    1. Military Might

    and,

    2. Group Feeling.

    Provisioning and training provide the necessary feeling of military might, along with success in military combat.

    Group Feeling is imparted based on shared values of patriotism, brotherhood, and bravery/self-sacrifice. Uniformity helps ensure the adoption of and conformance to the espoused shared values of the Group.

    Soldiers wear uniforms for several reasons. To stand apart from the civilians, to conform to the Geneva and Hague Conventions, and as a totemic symbol of the GROUP.

    Notice the re-occurence of the keys words: Uniforms, Uniformity, Conformity.

    An OPENLY gay member of a military unit, being ABNORMAL from the norms of the GROUP, is by definition not UNIFORM.

    Furthermore, military personnel, especially the enlistees, sign an enlistment contract for a set period of years. They have ZERO control over their assignment, and ZERO control over with whom and where they will serve.

    They do not choose anything after volunteering. They are made to conform as to uniform and appearance, behavior, training levels, and physical fitness.

    They do not choose the unit, crew, tank, vehicle, airplane, office, or ship on which they serve. They lack free will. They are commanded, and they must follow the lawful orders of the officers appointed above them.

    Now, are you starting to see how being openly gay just doesn’t fit into a Warrior Society built on Military Might and Group Feeling?

    Hope this helps…..

  59. #59 |  Pablo | 

    I’m not sure I’d agree that gays are under represented in the military. I’ve never served in the military but my Dad did for a long time and I grew up by an Air Force base. I’ve known quite a few gay service members. I don’t want to stereotype anyone but among female service members I’d guess that lesbians are actually more common there than in the general population. There are a LOT of lebians in the armed forces.

  60. #60 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Whim, your thought process is exactly what I am fighting against.

  61. #61 |  Pablo | 

    Forgot to add that another and maybe more pressing human rights issue in the military is the sadly common problem of sexual assault. If a female service member is raped then her personal life becomes a target. If she is gay, which is often the case, DADT becomes a major incentive to just sweep the whole thing under the rug.

  62. #62 |  Max | 

    First of all, Stephen and Jim Collins…you guys know each other? Or is there a sudden epidemic of sex-fueled killings in the Navy that’s being suppressed by the media?

    As for reasons to focus on DADT, in some ways it reminds me of the medical marijuana issue. Legalization advocates oftentimes get lambasted for “exploiting” the terminally ill to make a larger point about the relative safety of marijuana, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s an issue that works for us. It’s very hard for even the densest drug warrior to look an AIDS-wasting patient in the eye and say “no”.

    Likewise, there’s significant (and growing) political cost to telling a guy like Dan Choi that he never had any right to be in the military. Giving political issues – marijuana legalization, gay rights – that extra emotional heft is sometimes the difference between making history and making the footnotes.

    Note that with the more extreme opposition, there’s another similarity. Both gay activists and pot activists are accused of using these issues (medical marijuana and DADT repeal) as “trojan horses” for their broader agendas. In both cases, the accusation is only wrong because both sets of activists have been crystal clear: these causes are just step 1 in a much larger fight. It’s not a trojan horse rolling into Troy, it’s just a battalion of Achaeans.

    (Insert joke about Achilles and Patroclus here.)

  63. #63 |  TDR | 

    “because of whom they choose to love.”

    Heresy!!! HERESY!!! Don’t you remember how Bill Richardson was nearly lynched for suggesting on the campaign trail that homosexuality was a choice?!

    (For all you uptight bastards: this is sarcasm. I’m right, but I’m being sarcastic.)

  64. #64 |  Stephen | 

    “First of all, Stephen and Jim Collins…you guys know each other? Or is there a sudden epidemic of sex-fueled killings in the Navy that’s being suppressed by the media?”

    Nope and my story was from about 20 years ago. Damned hard to find any links to back me up.

    I did say RARE!

    I think existing sexual harassment law should be plenty without having DADT.

  65. #65 |  Tori | 

    Because it’s yet another way the government tells you “You’re not the same as these other citizens. Your very essence makes you unfit for inclusion”.

    Balko, the back of the bus stopped at all the same places as the front of the bus, you know…

  66. #66 |  ParatrooperJJ | 

    It has very little to to with gays actually. It is being pushed by left wing activists that don’t care if it would help or hurt gays. They are only concerned with hurting the military. Hurting one of the last conservative social structures is much more important that helping gays. In fact removing DADT will actually expose gays to criminal prosecution. If DADT falls DOD will have no choice but to go to court martial for sodomy. What’s better – an honorable discharge or a federal criminal conviction?

  67. #67 |  Not my Usual Posting Name | 

    DADT is the issue that turned my once liberal wife (though I have managed to convert her to libertarian thinking to some degree) who voted for Obama and a nearly straight Dem. ticket in ’08 to someone who calls Obama a liar and says she’d vote for Palin over Obama in ’12 if it came to that.

    Anyways, I can’t say anything here that hasn’t already been said. Especially referencing Bob @ #9.

  68. #68 |  Tom | 

    Where would we house open homosexuals in the military?

    No one ever addresses that issue that I have seen. Do homosexuals get their own room in the barracks?

    This seems a small issue until you think about it.

    Tom

  69. #69 |  Fay | 

    Whim: How do you square your view with the fact that Israel, of all places, allows openly gay people to serve in its military? Do they have worse “group feeling” than our military?

  70. #70 |  Good Questions « Polyhistor | 

    […] Balko of the Agitator asks some good questions about the prioritization of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Gay marriage is probably the only gay rights issue that gets more attention than DADT right now. […]

  71. #71 |  Gooseilini | 

    Great article!!

    I just wanted to point out one thing. In the first paragraph you have a link to an awesome picture. The text of the link reads: “and in some cases have risked their lives, have been discharged because of whom they choose to love.”
    I am kind of concerned that the word “choose” may cause some confusion. While you can choose Bob over Dan or Cindy over Sarah, you can not choose to be gay or straight. I was just worried that “choose to love” may cause confusion or worse, an excuse.

    I’m sorry, I really liked the piece and know you did not mean any harm and I hate to point out the one cloud in the sky, but being a gay man (who was born this way) I feel the word choose is inaccurate.

  72. #72 |  bob42 | 

    Whether you like to call it “marriage” or a life partnership, as a species we have an innate tendency to couple-up in long term relationships. Of all the free associations possible, these are the most personal and the most private.

    No person should have to beg permission from their government to avail their relationship to the same legal treatments afforded to others.

    States first began regulating marriage when slavery was being ended, and did so to prohibited mixed race couples. A dozen states still had such laws on the books when Loving v. Virginia was decided in the late 1960s.

    It’s none of the government’s business.

  73. #73 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    Tom is right, the military can’t afford to extend special treatment to gays. Which is why we need a law on the books that singles them out for their sexuality….

    wait, what?

  74. #74 |  bob42 | 

    The ruckus over DADT is a subset of the same sex marriage issue. Both are helpful wedge issues for far right social conservative authoritarian politicians who rely on peoples natural xenophobia for political gain. Lacking any credibility on walking their fiscal conservative talk, they resort to fear mongering to get votes.

    That’s why I’m voting straight ticket republican this year.

    Each day I tremble in fear that a pregnant lesbian mexican muslim narco-terrorist might sneak across the southern border with a suitcase nuke, sell meth to my kids, drop the anchor baby, blow up the hospital, and marry my sister.

    And I don’t even have a sister.

  75. #75 |  qwints | 

    @Paratrooper,

    Sodomy laws are unconstitutional. See Lawrence v. Texas 539 U.S. 558 (2003) (“The case does involve two adults who, with full and mutual consent from each other, engaged in sexual practices common to a homosexual lifestyle. The petitioners are entitled to respect for their private lives. The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime. Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government. “)

    available at http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/02-102.ZO.html

  76. #76 |  DarkEFang | 

    #38 Mike H –

    “I think it interesting that, since Obama has indicated he does not favor DADT, his appealing the judge’s ruling that DADT is unconstitutional…

    I really wish he’d explain himself here. Probably, it’s politically inconvenient right now. When the election dust settles, perhaps he’ll enlighten us…”

    Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure the Justice Department is obligated to make a good faith effort to prevent legislation passed by Congress from being overturned in a court decision.

  77. #77 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    “Funny how so many people who’ve never worn the uniform of our armed services know so much about what is best for the uniformed services, including the California Federal Judge who decided that a law was unconstitutional after it had been on the books for 17 years.”

    Maybe its the near trillion dollars a year the military eats up that gives us lowly civilians the idea we have a right to say how its run. Civilian leadership, and all. Just a thought, not trying to throw a wrench into the workings of your “warrior society” machismo.

  78. #78 |  Jim Collins | 

    “First of all, Stephen and Jim Collins…you guys know each other? Or is there a sudden epidemic of sex-fueled killings in the Navy that’s being suppressed by the media?”

    I don’t think so. The incident I’m referring to happened 23 years ago in Florida. There was nothing being “supressed” that I know of. Of course this was in the pre-internet age and some people believe that if it isn’t on the internet, it didn’t happen.

    Boyd
    I know a few “straight” men who have killed people too. One of them is possibly me.

  79. #79 |  Cynical in CA | 

    @#23 | tim

    “@Cynical in CA, you are a complete idiot.”

    Thank you sir! I am flattered by your inability to detect satire, as in “This issue is so f’en ridiculous that satire is the only reaction warranted.”

    But hey, I got you to react. +1 for me!!!

  80. #80 |  BamBam | 

    The main argument in the gay marriage deal should be “The State should not be involved in any manner in private relationships, and thus decouple marriage from any equality/health coverage/adoption argument”. The secondary argument should be “There should be no difference between a couples of same/different sex and their health care coverage/insurance”, unless someone can show me compelling data otherwise.

    All of the “we want to be controlled by The State in the same manner as heteros” is missing the point if one truly cares about liberty and equality.

  81. #81 |  billy-jay | 

    Nobody gets foul calls in pick up basketball games.

    Nobody.

  82. #82 |  Cynical in CA | 

    @#31 | Episiarch

    Thanks very much for the defense, Episiarch — I couldn’t have summed it up better.

    I should point out though, that while human beings are different from molecules (not as much as you’d think), I have found that principles from the physical sciences are appropriate metaphors for gauging human behavior, at least in the aggregate. Try it sometime, it’s fun!

  83. #83 |  Cynical in CA | 

    #41 | PW — “I cannot for the life of me figure out why any sane individual, gay or straight, would ever want to enlist in the US military.”

    Most people labor under the misimpression that the U.S. military is all-volunteer. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is an economic draft, in which certain low-income people decide that the U.S. military is the best economic option available to them. Other factors such as perceived status and job security may play a role, but there never need be an actual draft again as long as the ruling class can manufacture an underclass. Pure genius if you think about it.

  84. #84 |  André | 

    Surprised nobody has mentioned Bill Hicks’ take on DADT yet…

    “Gays want to be in the military. Here’s how I feel about it, alright? Anyone – DUMB ENOUGH – to want to be in the military should be allowed in. End of fuckin’ story. That should be the only requirement. I don’t care how many push-ups you can do, put on a helmet, go wait in that fox-hole, we’ll tell you when we need you to kill somebody.”

  85. #85 |  Cynical in CA | 

    #42 | Stephen — “A flaming nancy boy type should not have the right to go dancing around in a pink tutu in close cramped sleeping quarters singing “I’m gay!” in an attempted high pitched girlish voice.”

    On “three,” everybody!

    “I’m a lumberjack and I’m okay, I sleep all night and I work all day!”

  86. #86 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Boyd
    I know a few “straight” men who have killed people too. One of them is possibly me.

    Internet tough guy is tough.

  87. #87 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    @ 76 BamBam,
    Very well said, BamBam. My only addition would be that the term “couples” limits it to two people. The state has some limited civil concerns to indentify legal partnerships and should do so with partnerships that are not restricted to two-and only two adults.

  88. #88 |  André | 

    Also, the Onion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aotlEpmAFVQ

    “Gays Too Precious To Risk In Combat”

  89. #89 |  MikeZ | 

    Whim says,
    “An OPENLY gay member of a military unit, being ABNORMAL from the norms of the GROUP, is by definition not UNIFORM.”

    I’d say a member of a military unit that only has a 3rd nipple is ABNORMAL with your definition does that make them unfit to serve? What about people who are bald? I think your definition of ABNORMAL may need some work. I’m not sure how a gay service member is less fit to perform a task in the military neither does the military as they do allow them to serve in secret.

    However I can concede that an openly gay member will cause some strife because there may be some bigoted service member who finds what somebody else does in private offensive. I’d just say the Military is currently discharging the wrong service member in that case.

  90. #90 |  billy-jay | 

    CiC:

    If you’re ever in Tokyo, let me know. We’ll have beer.

  91. #91 |  ParatrooperJJ | 

    qwints – You seem to have some confusion on what Lawrence v Texas actually did. First L v T effected state law not federal law. Second L v T said that a state could not outlaw sodomy for homosexuals while leaving it legal for heterosexuals. UCMJ Article 125 outlaws sodomy for all persons not just homosexuals. And lastly, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces has upheld multiple Art. 125 conviction post L v T. An excellent article on the issue can be found here: http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-197364657/article-125-sodomy-dead.html

  92. #92 |  billy-jay | 

    Whoa, neg karma for inviting Cynical for a beer?

    Tough crowd in this place.

  93. #93 |  Cynical in CA | 

    @#82 | Boyd Durkin

    I’m from the trademark police. I’m here to issue you a citation for not using a trademark symbol:

    Internet Tough Guy™

    Please don’t let it happen again. :)

  94. #94 |  Cynical in CA | 

    @#88 | billy-jay — “Whoa, neg karma for inviting Cynical for a beer? Tough crowd in this place.”

    I guess I bring out the best in people, Billy Jay. Thanks very much for the invite, the same applies when you’re stateside, but I have no plans to board a plane anytime soon.

  95. #95 |  Scott L | 

    #66 Brings up a good point. The military already knows that eventually openly homosexual people will be allowed to serve and they have been doing numerous studies about how to handle it, perhaps it just isn’t prepared yet which is why Obama is fighting this. It also begs the question if sexuality means nothing anymore should men and women have integrated restrooms and sleeping quarters? Starship Troopers comes to mind. It would save a lot of resources if the military could simply throw everyone in a squad bay with only one set of showers and heads.

  96. #96 |  Chris | 

    It’s a very visible issue. Talking about domestic partner benefits and tax issues makes people’s eyes gloss over. Talking about a soldier, whose photograph you can point at, is a very real and tangible issue.

  97. #97 |  Bob | 

    Like it or not, Government is involved in marriage, and will always be.

    The reason for this is because Government is responsible for the enforcement of contracts.

    No matter how you feel about Government, one of it’s legitimate jobs is to regulate and enforce contracts. Without an entity higher up on the food chain than any of the contractees ultimately enforcing them, contracts would be rendered worthless.

    And marriage is a contract. It’s a simplified mechanic, an automatic contract of convenience, one that replaces a more complex contract between individuals, but it’s a contract none the less.

    The advantage of the marriage contract over hiring a lawyer and drafting your own contract is one of simplicity. It’s such a common arrangement that simplifying the marriage contract into a simple license makes logical sense.

    Government has (Well, is supposed to have) rules, non discrimination is one of them. Hence… outlawing gay marriage is illegal. Religious people, however, irrationally oppose that on ‘moral’ grounds and will generate whatever illogical rationale they need to in order to justify that belief.

    Let’s go full circle. Do away with the marriage contract. No problem, right?

    Wrong. Suppose your spouse dies. As your spouse, all their property should defer to you. But wait! You can’t just go to the bank and say “So and So is my spouse. They died. Gimme all their money”.

    In theory, there are legal remedies to that. You can have binding contracts. But the people at the bank aren’t lawyers. They have to submit your request to legal, then your lawyers and their lawyers hash it out.

    Unless, of course… you’re gay, from country X, or left handed because the bank will feel compelled on moral grounds to micro analyze your contract with the intent of ignoring it on those same moral grounds. They can’t do that legally as it’s blatant discrimination, but any legal flaw in your contract will do the same thing.

    Or, you could all have the same simplified contract.

    Here’s a common canard put forward by Christians in the US: “Marriage is a religious issue, and shouldn’t be controlled by the state”.

    What they REALLY mean is “Christians are 80% of the country. We should be able to discriminate as we see fit on everyone else because we are the moral majority. Sure, get ‘married’ at the Church of Whatever. But only Christian Marriages ™ will be honored at Christian Businesses and Institutions”.

    So. DADT is a policy derived from the cognitive dissonance of two competing beliefs: “The government cannot discriminate” and “Gays are immoral and should be punished”. When these two freight trains crash into each other, the result isn’t likely to make logical sense.

  98. #98 |  qwints | 

    qwints – You seem to have some confusion on what Lawrence v Texas actually did. First L v T effected state law not federal law. Second L v T said that a state could not outlaw sodomy for homosexuals while leaving it legal for heterosexuals. UCMJ Article 125 outlaws sodomy for all persons not just homosexuals. And lastly, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces has upheld multiple Art. 125 conviction post L v T. An excellent article on the issue can be found here: http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-197364657/article-125-sodomy-dead.html

    Paratrooper.

    When the court found a liberty interest under the due process clause, it found that is was unconstitutional for the states (under the 14th) or the federal government (under the 5th) to regulate private, consensual sexual conduct between adults.

    Second, Lawrence was not decided on equal protection grounds. It was decided on privacy grounds – the line of cases extending back to Griswold. As such, it invalidated both discriminatory and non-discriminatory sodomy laws. O’Conner’s concurrence was on equal protection grounds not the majority. Even the article you cited noted Lawrence found a privacy protection for both heterosexual and homosexual acts.

    Finally, I am quite ready to admit that the military can regulate the sexual behavior of service members in a variety of ways to maintain discipline such as by banning sex in public or relationships between officers and enlisted. Such cases as cited in your article, however, do not suggest that sodomy could be used to kick out gay service members after the end of DADT.

  99. #99 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Like it or not, Government is involved in marriage, and will always be.

    Bob, my point is to get the government to recognize contractual unions to fascilitate legal dealings between citizens and business/government. A religious ceremony called “marriage” should not be tied to recognizing and fascilitating that contract. Nor should there be special rights and tax breaks for select individuals who have participated in a religious ceremony.

    The reason for this is because Government is responsible for the enforcement of contracts.

    If this were true, the solution would be quick, easy, and not politically charged. More importantly, the government is involved in marriage for all the other reasons you and other posters have listed.

  100. #100 |  Matthew | 

    I’m gay, a libertarian agreeing with 95% of what Radley posts on this site and don’t serve in the military.

    Maybe it is because I don’t serve in the military, but honestly, DADT isn’t that big a deal to me or my partner. Neither is gay marriage. When it comes to gay issues, what really matters to me are things like knowing that I will be able to visit my partner in the hospital, knowing I can share my employer’s benefits with my partner without being penalized (that applies to unmarried straight couples too) and knowing that if my partner or I wanted kids, we could adopt (again, this goes for unmarried straight couples too). DADT? Really not a big deal for me or most other gay people I know, even the gays I know in the military.

    I’ve also got to ask: how is this that big of an issue? Did I miss the news story where every other major issue was resolved…is the drug war now over? is the government half its original size? did social security go away? is the 4th amendment respected (or any of the other amendments)? I’d ask the same question regarding gay marriage, gay adoption and even hospital visitation – we have bigger issues to address in this country than anything related to gays.

    Also, I have to laugh at the stereotypes thrown out in these comments. Are there those freaks who parade around in pink tutus? You bet but from my experience gay men who do that are outliers and definitely not the main stream. Unfortunately, it is the freaks who get attention. The majority of gays who lead good, normal lives don’t get the attention.

    The thing is though you can point to straight men who are equally distracting. If a straight man goes around waving the latest copy of Playboy in everybody’s face they are no better than a gay solider prancing around in the tutu. Anybody who is that distracting, and is neglecting their job or preventing others from doing their job by being so distracting, probably shouldn’t serve in the military.

  101. #101 |  Bob | 

    Boyd:

    Do you realize that what you’re saying is that if you want to do ANYTHING in conjunction to your uniquely specified contract that codifies your unique and special cohabitation arrangement, that you will need a Court Order to do it?

    What, you think you’re just going to walk into a hospital where your wife is recuperating, slap down a contract and expect everyone there to just instantly honor it?

    Marriage is a contract. It’s body is the aggregation of the state laws regarding it. If it weren’t for religious people both in government and exerting their influence on people in government, it would be just that simple.

  102. #102 |  Whim | 

    Fay:

    The Israeli military is being infected by left-wing Political Correctness as is our military.

    In Israel, the country is subjected to those left-leaning Israelis/Jewis Americans who move back and forth between the U.S. and Israel.

    It will be the death of the efficacy of the Israeli society and might of their their once mighty armed forces.

    Their entire country is one lost battle away from total annihilation of every man, woman, and child.

    The old immigrant Israeli knew that the Arab was their mortal foe and implacable enemy: Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, Begin, Abba Eban et al knew what they were fighting for.

    Witness the Israeli Army’s recent “tie” in their fight against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

    Such a pathetic display of weak esprit-de-corps to not vanguish the Arab enemy, and send the few survivors running shoeless all the way back to their Syrian and Iranian sponsors.

  103. #103 |  Nick | 

    The late great Bill Hicks on gays in the military.

  104. #104 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Bob,
    That’s not at all what I’m saying and that’s not what I expect to do if called into a hospital.

  105. #105 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    Whim, political correctness does not mean you can’t be a bigot anymore. By all means fly your bigot colors loud and proud. It just means that you’ll be held accountable for it. I’m sorry it’s not 1951 anymore and you can’t bash minorities with impunity, but as Bob Dylan said, the times, they are a changin’.

    Also please enlighten us on how TEH GHEY!!!1!1!1!1One11 caused the IDF to lose in Southern Lebanon. Should be good for a chuckle.

  106. #106 |  BamBam | 

    #97. the word license implies that the behavior is illegal without said license. Government has no business being involved in relationships, or as you call it “a contract”. There are other solutions other than government.

  107. #107 |  Max | 

    Whim, as one of those wacky “moving back and forth between Israel and America” types, I can say with 100% certainty that you haven’t the faintest idea what you’re talking about.

    Jim Collins and Stephen…guys! You totally know each other!

    Jim, you say it happened 23 years ago. Stephen says:
    “Nope and my story was from about 20 years ago. Damned hard to find any links to back me up.”

    Seriously, if you guys both want to email me as a neutral third party, and exchange phone numbers and find out the details here, let’s make it happen. This is so exciting!

  108. #108 |  Stephen | 

    #100 | Matthew |

    I wish I could give you more than one thumbs up.

    The last two paragraphs of that post pretty much sum up what I believe. Neither the pink tutu nor the playboy are acceptable. As far as I am concerned, they are both wrong in the workplace.

  109. #109 |  Stephen | 

    Oh, and the playboy probably happens a lot more than the tutu.

  110. #110 |  ParatrooperJJ | 

    quints – They won’t be kicking them out for being homosexual, they will be kicking them out for a court martial conviction. None of the current legislation effects UCMJ in any way and federal civilian courts (district or appeals) have zero jurisdiction over UCMJ convictions. They can, have, and will continue to convict under Art 125. CAAF case law is quite clear on this issue.

  111. #111 |  Jim Collins | 

    It’s a matter of public record.

    Jacksonville, Florida 1987-88

    The man killed was Ronald Yarbourgh
    The man who had him killed was Charles Jackson
    The man who killed him was Richard Deacon.

    As I said pre-internet days. I’m not interested in spending the money to be able to search the online database of the local newspaper.

  112. #112 |  JOR | 

    I think it would be awesome if having gays in the military got lots of soldiers killed.

    Sadly, despite the worst conservitard nightmares about pink tutus and limp wrists and dropped soap, gays are probably as good at being disciplined professional murderers as straights.

  113. #113 |  Scott | 

    Radley,

    I’m a gay libertarian whose boyfriend is in the miitary, so I can offer a bit of perspective.

    First of all, a couple of logic flaws: Don’t confuse the amount of publicity an effort garners with the amount of effort actually being placed in the battle. We both work in the media. We both know that national issues are bound to get more coverage than state issues.

    Also, don’t succumb to false choices. It’s not as though fighting against DADT makes it impossible to fight for other gay rights issues. There are gay organizations devoted to each of these various causes.

    The reason those two issues get so much attention is because there is so much resistance, same as gay marriage. The adoption battle is a state issue and the opposition is losing (see today’s announcement that Florida won’t fight the ruling that they can’t block gay adoption).

    I can assure you that all of these issues bounce around the gay community. That they aren’t more dominant in the media is more of a reflection of which issues the non-gay public is passionate about.

    Amusingly though, my own boyfriend doesn’t care whether DADT actually goes away or not. He has no intent on talking about his personal life in his line of work anyway. I’m more concerned about it because I tend to talk without thinking first and I worry I’m going to out him.

  114. #114 |  wsad | 

    Why the hell has no-one mentioned the spartans? Gay couples going out together in a war is historically fearsome.

  115. #115 |  lunchstealer | 

    I think the biggest reason is that it’s a clear and open form of discrimination on the part of the federal government. As long as the military is free to bar homosexuals, it gives pretty strong cover to others who want to discriminate against gays. After all, if the Army can do it, it’s just patriotic to hate the gays, isn’t it?

    It’s a pretty strong symbol that double standards for gays are A-OK.

    And for the government to send that sort of signal is not OK.

  116. #116 |  charles | 

    didn’t read any of the comments, all I can say is that there are an AWFUL lot of conservative gays out there, you just don’t see them because they don’t make a big deal out of it and reject it as a major part of their identity unlike many gay men that buy the lie that when you come out you have to behave a certain way and forsake masculinity thus making themselves more obviously visible. that’s not to say they don’t want marriage equality or the repeal of dadt.
    there are average joes that are gay in small towns everywhere that share the conservative values they grew up with (minus the homophobic ones). gay people can be just as stupid and brainwashed and nationalistic as straight people to think that joining the military is a good idea in the first place.

  117. #117 |  Chasing Fat Tails | 

    The Political Brilliance of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal…

    A recent post at The Agitator asks the several questions that usually get asked regarding the focus of gay rights activists on the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Why focus on repealing a policy that doesn’t outright prevent homosexu…

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