Sunday, January 18, 2009

Will Obama Lift the Military Ban on Gays?

"I take the president-elect on his word," he said. "I think he'll do it."
So says Aubrey Sarvis, director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network from an article in the Air Force Insider. SLDN has been on the forefront of the challenge to rescind the regressive Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy enacted under Clinton in 1993.

President Clinton was the first major party presidential candidate to court the Gay vote when he ran in the 1992 election. After his election, he went back on his promise to eliminate the ban on Gays serving in the military. DADT was supposed to be a compromise that has ultimately been responsible for the discharge of 12,500 servicepersons, including some 800 key positions as Arab translators, medical personnel and pilots. Oddly enough, the military seems to enforce DADT only when it's politically or perhaps personally expedient. As in the case of USN's PO2 Jason Knight who was recalled to serve in Iraq after he was discharged for being Gay.
Backers of reform said the move toward loosening restriction reflects a change in societal attitudes."There has been a sea change in the way this issue is viewed, especially in light of our national security needs," said Democratic lawmaker Ellen Tauscher."We shouldn't be forcing good men and women out of military service," Tauscher told AFP.

The lawmaker is the lead sponsor in the House of Representatives of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which would replace "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
SLDN has a petition to sign and shooting off an email to Congresswoman Taucher couldn't hurt.

I'm pulling for Barack to keep his promise. [Related reading]

6 comments:

TheWeyrd1 said...

Not that I want to serve in the military, but it seems more hopeful that those queers that do want to serve, will get to serve openly. Or at least they won't have to go to great lengths to hide their lives. Kind of like the rest of us...

Cujo359 said...

DADT was disastrous, because it ended up legitimizing the conditions as they had already existed in practice. Clinton accepted this as some sort of progress, when in reality it was a step backward. I hope that, as a minimum, Obama will resolve to not make things any worse than they already are. I think the lesson of DADT is that before making any policy decisions, Pres. Obama should run it past gays who were (or are) in the military.

HopeSpringsATurtle said...

Great idea Cujo. Certainly better than just running past the 'old guard' This is a new time we are entering with O becoming our President today. The end not only of the Bush error, but the end of the Reagan age where government is the enemy. The numbers are split among the active duty servicemembers but so were they about even when Truman ended segregation in the military.

A new age is dawning.

MarcLord said...

Hey doll-face!

And I don't say that lightly. I have been ridiculously privileged in beautiful women, and you are one of them.

Today was a great day. Thank you. (Delete this if it embarrasses you.)

rjjrdq said...

If you've ever been in the military, you would know that "openly gay" might not be the safest way to live. That's the reality folks...

HopeSpringsATurtle said...

I have served in the military and my former partner is still active duty. Being "out" does not mean wearing one's sexuality on one's sleeve. it means not having to change pronouns, getting the benefits of a dependent, and having all the rights and responsibilities of any military person. Public displays of affection while in uniform are discouraged for anyone that serves.

Homophobia is essentially no different than racism. While you cannot legislate people's minds, you can make law about their public behavior. The US has the ONLY military in Western culture that does not allow Gays to serve openly. It's about time we moved into the 21st century like the rest of the modern world.