Admiral Mullen stands strong in support of DADT repeal

February 2, 2010 at 1:40 pm 65 comments

By Julia Rosen

Today’s congressional hearing on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — the first in 17 years — turned out to be much more significant than many people had expected. For weeks we had been hearing leaks that the military wanted to “study” DADT. To many, it sounded like they just wanted to kick the can down the road and were not serious about ending this policy that forces countless honorable soldiers serving their country to lie every day about who they are and who they love.

It turns out that while the military wants to spend time studying DADT, they will not be asking “if” it should be repealed — but “how” it should be repealed. Let me repeat that: Admiral Mike Mullen, representing the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates are on record as fully committed to repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Mullen tweeted after the hearing, reemphasizing what he said quite clearly during the hearing:

Stand by what I said: Allowing homosexuals to serve openly is the right thing to do. Comes down to integrity.

Here are more quotes from the NYT:

“No matter how I look at the issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens,” Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said it was his personal belief that “allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do.”

But both Admiral Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told the committee they needed more time to review how to carry out the change in policy, which requires an act of Congress, and predicted some disruption to the armed forces.

I was struck by how resolute Mullen was about repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell when watching the hearing today. A friend of mine was at the hearing and ran into Rachel Maddow, who expressed the same thing to her. President Obama ordered them to take action on the repeal, but the statement by Mullen went way beyond that.

It would have been very difficult politically to overturn DADT without the support of the Joint Chiefs. We have that support now on the record. As a result, the military is on a path to allow gays, lesbians and bi-sexuals to serve their country openly and honestly. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that it is a slow path and the reality is that it should not take an entire year to study this. The military should have spent last year doing this research, after President Obama made it clear that this was a priority. They should have a plan now for implementation, but they don’t and aren’t gong to have one for a long time.

That said, they are going to be making some smaller positive steps in the interim period to lessen the effects of this policy, while they a) do the research b) wait for Congress to repeal the law.

In the interim, Mr. Gates announced that the military was moving toward enforcing the existing policy “in a fairer manner” — a reference to the possibility that the Pentagon would no longer take action to discharge service members whose sexual orientation is revealed by third parties or jilted partners, one of the most onerous aspects of the law. Mr. Gates said he had asked the Pentagon to make a recommendation on the matter within 45 days, but “we believe that we have a degree of latitude within the existing law to change our internal procedures in a manner that is more appropriate and fair to our men and women in uniform.”

The things they are talking about do not go as far as they could. For example, a moratorium on discharging soldiers could be put in place until the law is repealed, not just limiting who can accuse people of being gay.

From a cold calculated political analysis view point and not as an advocate, the statements by Mullen and Gates today mean that passage of a DADT repeal this year in Congress is less likely, even though the Pentagon’s support means there is now a lot more momentum for repeal as a practical matter. Further complicating things, it is tough to argue that Congress needs to pass the repeal of DADT when the military is saying they are working on a plan, but aren’t ready for a repeal yet. In addition, this is an election year and the natural inclination of politicians is to avoid heated topics while they are running for re-election.

That said, Congress could pass a repeal of DADT this year, and instruct the military to have their implementation plan ready to go when the law goes into effect on a specific date. The likeliest vehicle for that legislatively is rolling it into a must-pass defense bill, which would not require 60 votes in the Senate, a fact that was pointed out by Senator Levin during today’s hearing.

This is all pretty fresh and momentum for repealing DADT in Congress this year will be easier to assess once more legislators respond to what happened during the Senate hearing today. The next hearing will be on February 11th and will likely have more time for the Senators to ask questions and speak. They were limited to just four minutes today.

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First episodes of trial re-enactment Scorecards, Not Balls and Strikes

65 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Richard W. Fitch  |  February 2, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    The bottom line is that DADT(DP) needs to be suspended IMMEDIATELY. It is already quite plain that the DoD has trashed the careers of too many talented professionals.

    Reply
  • 2. Kendall  |  February 2, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Thanks for reporting on this; equality everywhere for GLBT folk is very closely related, since unequality anywhere sends the same societal message (not worthy, less than, etc.).

    So, wow, on the one hand, I’m so heartened. :-) Unequivocal statements like that are just what we need!

    On the other paw, yeah, why not put processing any discharges on hold right now! Sheesh!!! I mean, not discharging people who’re outed–if that happens–is a great first step, but WTF…what needs studying…what disruption need happen…etc. More delaying tactics. But it’s great that the light really does seem to be at the end of the tunnel.

    Reply
    • 3. Kendall  |  February 2, 2010 at 1:52 pm

      P.S. what I meant was “if they really stop discharging people who’re outed, that’s a great first step.” I wasn’t trying to imply the outing didn’t happen. ;-) I’m just skeptical of policy improvements until they happen since talk seems especially cheap when it comes to GLBT rights and equality.

      Reply
  • 4. Casey  |  February 2, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Richard is right. I have read that Obama has been holding private meetings since he took office to develop a game plan for repealing DADT, but that he did not make it public. It seems odd to me that he would not A) make it public, when he declared his support for repeal during his candidacy, and B) work to suspend the law during the review period. I believe that he is an advocate for our community, but I wish I had more information about where he is going, and has been going, with this. The comments we have from Mullen are tremendous, but I wonder where everyone has been for the last year…as GLBT folks waited and had lives destroyed. Am I being too judgemental or naive about the political process?

    Reply
  • 5. Ronnie  |  February 2, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    The thing that I find the most amusing is that the complain that they don’t have enough people serving and yet the turn people away and discharge then for not only being gay but getting pregnant as well.

    Geeze….I wonder why you don’t have enough people to serve?

    Reply
    • 6. fiona64  |  February 2, 2010 at 2:01 pm

      Female service members are not discharged for becoming pregnant; they are discharged for becoming pregnant *in combat zones.* They are not easily re-deployed or backfilled in that situation. Whether I agree with the policy or not is irrelevant, but I do want to make sure that the policy is at least properly cited.

      Love,
      Fiona

      Reply
      • 7. Ronnie  |  February 2, 2010 at 2:08 pm

        LOL…I couldn’t remember the details of that but still

        Oh…a little OT but Michael Jackson’s Doctor has been officially charged with man slaughter…i figured I would mention that because MJ was a advocate for world peace and equality.RIP

        Reply
      • 8. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  February 2, 2010 at 5:43 pm

        And what about the army cook they are trying to discharge simply for being a mother, and trying to get backfiled before being deployed because her mother backed out on taking care of her son while she was deployed? In my homest opinion, that is just teetotally, 15,000% WRONG! I am sure the army could have found another cook to deploy and let her stay here where she could look after her son, who is only 1 year old. Besides, isn’t there some sort of restriction about sending parents into a combat zone when their child is that young? If not, there truly should be!

        Reply
      • 9. fiona64  |  February 3, 2010 at 6:12 am

        Richard, every service member with children is required by regulation to have a valid family care plan. If her mother backed out, the service member is required to have a new family care plan on file. With the numbers of troops being deployed nowadays, they cannot say “Oh, well, we’ll let it go this time, Sgt. Cook.” This is a regulatory requirement and the soldier is in violation. I do understand the reason; when you join the service, you should expect to be deployed at some point. E.g, in the Navy, even during peacetime there are deployments of 6 weeks – 6 months’ duration. Your butt had better be on the boat, and if you have a child, there had better be a family care plan.

        Love,
        Fiona

        Reply
      • 10. fiona64  |  February 3, 2010 at 6:14 am

        PS to Richard – No, there is no restriction against sending parents of young children into battle. You may be thinking of the Sullivan Act, which restricts siblings from being deployed into the same region.

        Love,
        Fiona

        Reply
  • 11. Felyx  |  February 2, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Actually I gotta kinda sorta hand it to the military. It is one more recognition that gay SSM is emminent.

    See, gay marriage is legal already in several states. If any one of the soldiers gets married and then proceeds to get ousted it will look very damaging on the military if the couple gets enough press. Though the military does not need to heed civil laws for the most part, a scandal on this level would bring serious damage to the military institution. The military is very sensitive to where its soldiers come from…i.e. society. When scandal errupts over military issues (recall Tailhook) the enlistment rate plummets. Right now the rate is under necessary recruitment levels for most branches. The threat of ‘homosexual misconduct’ towards military readiness is starting to take a back seat to GLBT effects on enlistment levels.

    Majority sentiment on the issue is irrelevant when enough of a percentage of society shows its disfavor by withholding its volunteerism. It’s a tricky situation, there are two wars…reserves, never before called up, are being used, enlistment levels are low, mission critical personel are being discharged, if you refuse gay individuals you lose recruits and support, if you open the doors to the GLBT you lose recruitment and support.

    If the pentagon is not very careful on this it will have to pressure Obama into making use of the draft…can we say disaster in the making?!!!

    I do however feel that not issuing a stop loss on gay discharge was not kosher for Obama.

    (Hahaha..he said Gay Discharge! ;P) – Sorry, I couldn’t resist!

    Reply
  • 12. Bill  |  February 2, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    While I most certainly believe that LGTB citizens deserve to be allowed to serve their country, I personally can not comprehend why a gay American would fight for freedoms they are denied.

    I guess I am too small a mind to understand that.

    Reply
    • 13. Ronnie  |  February 2, 2010 at 2:51 pm

      To Bill…

      1. is because our taxes are used to pay for the armed forces so we should have as much involvement as everybody else.

      2. When a bigots son or daughter is saved by a Gay soldier they will change their minds to he/she is a hero and deserves to be treated as one. Marriage and protection for all.

      This is what I say to the gov. You don’t want treat us 100% equal in every aspect of American life then you need to stop taxing us, and two will have the right to discriminate against anybody who does not support us….If you are not for equal rights you cannot use, buy, or obtain my products and you cannot step in to my business…

      Simply put INTEGRATION NOW!!!! (Brown v. Board)

      Reply
      • 14. Bill  |  February 2, 2010 at 5:33 pm

        You misunderstood my point, Ronnie.

        Is there a gay servicemember or ex-service member out here who can address this in some way.

        I really don’t understand it. I totally understand a desire to be in the military. I considered it myself at one point. I understand the desire.

        What I do not understand is how na LGTB service member reconciles DADT with the honor code they are supposed to uphold. Is it love of country? Patriotism? Understand that I am not at all saying that I blame LGTB soldiers for ANY of this. Any LGTB person alive on this planet knows what ‘you do what you gotta do’ means in a way no other group ever has. So I understand why you must not reveal the truth about yourself.

        I was more speaking of the ramifications. And of the resentment a gay American soldier might feel. To be risking his life in a sensless war for people who largeley don’t even consider him worthy enough to be risking his life for them. Yet he fights for THOSE peoples safety and liberty.

        That, Ronnie, is a far bigger person than I.

        That was my point. I respect and admire military people 100%. I come from military people. Decades of them. And meant NO disrespect to them in any way.

        But then you responded and kinda lost your marbles, dude.

        Reply
      • 15. Ronnie  |  February 2, 2010 at 5:49 pm

        Bill I’m not sure why a gay person would choose to serve emotionally, I mean the things I stated is why I would short of my have some love for this country

        However I do 100% believe that 1 major reason why any current LGBT person would serve is because they lost a friend or family on 9-11….I have straight friends who joined specifically for that reason….call it pride, or call it retaliation but that is one reason.

        Reply
    • 16. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  February 2, 2010 at 5:50 pm

      No, Bill, I don’t think you are too small a mind to understand that, I think you are just simply someone who has never been around a veteran who is also LGBT. I am a veteran of the US Navy. I went into the service truly hoping to one day win my rights to serve openly as a gay man. While that did not happen, I met a man there who in all but name was my first husband. He was a Vietnam Veteran, and former USMC. And he had the decorations to prove that we can and do serve honorably and valorously in the military. My current husband is a veteran of the Vietnam conflict, and his branch was the Air Force. All of us hoping to one day see full equality for EVERYBODY, not just LGBTQQI’s. Then there are also young LGBT’s who enter the service because there are no other jobs, and this is a way for them to earn money to pay for college. And I commend them for that. After all, those student loans pile up fast, and most of it goes for the textbooks these days, where it used to be that tuition was the biggest hurdle. So there are many reasons LGBTQQI’s enter theservice. ANd our presence, while never officially recognized, has helped to change a lot of attitudes and shatter a lot of stereotypes, and this is going to help us in the repeal of DADT.

      Reply
  • 17. Andrew  |  February 2, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    I’m sorry, I don’t understand how it can take a year to research how to stop firing people, as that’s what they’re in essence doing when they catch someone. Just stop firing people. Duh.
    Or are they figuring out how to do sensitivity training or something? Maybe how to handle internal gay-bashing now that it’s no longer officially sanctioned?

    Reply
    • 18. couragecampaign  |  February 2, 2010 at 2:42 pm

      Andrew you are correct. They are spending a year to figure out how to implement it.

      This is from Marc Ambinder:

      Sources said that Gates will tell Congress that he plans to appoint a commission, including civilians, to plan for an array of changes to military procedures and codes. Will sexual harassment laws have to be revised? How will sexual tolerance be taught in military academies? What will disciplinary procedures entail for soldiers who harass gay soldiers? What does it mean to declare oneself “gay?” What about partnership benefits for spouses?

      It’s why it is a little more understandable that this will take some time, but still why didn’t they start this earlier?

      -Julia

      Reply
      • 19. Warren  |  February 2, 2010 at 3:23 pm

        Julia you make a good point. But Canada and Britain our two closest allies just announced and end to the policy, implemented it in a year and were done with it. It had no impact on their armies whatsoever (other than the fact that SSCs have been getting married on military bases in Canada – can you EVER imagine that happening here?). So while agree, there is no need to turn this into a multi-year process.

        Reply
      • 20. Andrew  |  February 2, 2010 at 4:03 pm

        Ah, that makes me feel better. This makes it seem that maybe they’re actually raking it serious for once.

        Reply
      • 21. Kendall  |  February 2, 2010 at 4:13 pm

        I don’t really buy it. How do they handle those things now? Those are hardly new issues, although “declaring one’s self gay” seems nonsensical and the federal government doesn’t do same-sex benefits, really, so I don’t see how “not firing people for being gay” means they have to waste time figuring out irrelevant things now. There’s enough time to handle some of that later–the rest should be nothing new.

        Maybe I’m too cynical or abrupt or whatever, but it’s not as complicated as they make it out to be! ;-) IMHO anyway.

        Reply
      • 22. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  February 2, 2010 at 5:54 pm

        I agree, Julia. Why did they not start this earlier. After all, we have had LGBTQQI’s in our military for the same length of time America has HAD a military. Let us not forget that Glenn Close portrayed Margarethe Cammermeier in a 2-part TV movie based on her autobiography “Serving in Silence.” And unless we forget, MCPO Timothy R. McVeigh successfully sued to finish out his 30 years and retire with full benefits, after someone hacked into his PERSONAL email account and told one of his USN superiors that he was gay. ANd both of these are highly decorated veterans we are talking about.

        Reply
      • 23. Ed-M  |  February 2, 2010 at 6:00 pm

        Problem is, the army and the air force, maybe navy and marines as well) are overrepresented with Dominionists and other fundvangelical types!

        Reply
      • 24. Marlene Bomer  |  February 3, 2010 at 9:47 am

        Richard — Here’s something rarely mentioned in the debate over openly serving gays in the military.

        During the early days of the Revolutionary Army, Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben came to the rebel cause, and brought with him a young aide who was his lover.

        Baron von Stuben was the soldier who created for the army the first training manual, many of the techniques and routines are *still* being used to this day!

        Reply
    • 25. Bill  |  February 2, 2010 at 2:43 pm

      It’s ‘straight-talk’ for ‘let’s drag our feet on this for as long as is heterosexually possible.’

      Reply
      • 26. couragecampaign  |  February 2, 2010 at 2:47 pm

        That would have be true if Mullen/Gates had said today that they need to study to find out if the military could function with out soldiers.

        They very clearly went well beyond that today. Mullen repeatedly expressed his personal support for repeal. In addition he noted that we have had no issues with our military working side by side with out soldiers from Canada or England. He also said he spoke with NATO commanders who said they have had no problem with gay soldiers in the rank.

        They had a can do attitude about it, even if their timeline is slow.

        -Julia

        Reply
      • 27. Felyx  |  February 2, 2010 at 2:50 pm

        This is a very fair rationale. There really is a lot to consider to maintain safety, legality and military readiness. The laws are changing rapidly and the military IMHO is being reasonable in this regard so as not to have a repeat of post segregation integration issues that were detrimental.

        I applaud that there is some proaction here no matter how late it came.

        Reply
  • 28. Straight Ally #3008  |  February 2, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. John Shalikashvili, who had the responsibility of initially implementing DADT, is calling for its immediate repeal.

    Reply
  • 29. Rachel  |  February 2, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Bill said: “While I most certainly believe that LGTB citizens deserve to be allowed to serve their country, I personally can not comprehend why a gay American would fight for freedoms they are denied.”

    For many of the same reasons African Americans served during the Jim Crow era, Japanese Americans served during WWII while their families sat in internment camps, and Native Americans served while their families were forced to live on the reservation.

    Because while our Constitution promises equal treatment, it is up to us all to see that the promise is kept. Each generation sees another group take their rightful place at the table. Aside from any personal reasons, persons of whatever minority serving in the military demonstrate in no uncertain terms that they have EARNED their right to the rights others take for granted.

    Reply
    • 30. Richard W. Fitch  |  February 2, 2010 at 5:38 pm

      Rachel, you say it well! Too often we work from single issue advocacy and miss the larger picture. Put simply – All men (Americans) are created equal, according to our Constitution. Until that is true, we are all unequal.

      Reply
  • 31. rpx  |  February 2, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Well if it is going to take an Act of Congress to make the change then i would offer that they throw in a little payback to people who were discharged previously for being gay or lesbian. I was very distured to read, I think it was on this website, that gay and lesbians were kicked out and then forced to pay back to the armed services for college courses they took that the military paid for. I never knew that! So if there is going to be a repeal fo the bill let’s ask that the people who were kicked out at least don’t have to keep paying back on those courses they took.

    I can see where a break up happened and a mean spiritied former BF or GF ran to the military and outed a service member. The service member abided by DADT but a third party torpedoed them out of the service. I really dont’ think it is fair that they shoudl ahve to now payback the military for class they took. Probably those classes were for their military job anyway and now they don’t ahve that anymore, so possibly the classes do not currently benefit them. I would like to seee that thrown in an re-writes of DADT.

    Reply
    • 32. Ozymandias ('cause it's cooler than 'Elbert')  |  February 2, 2010 at 3:51 pm

      You’re right rpx – the case of Lieutenant-Colonel Victor Ferenbach is a tragic case in point.

      Love,

      Ozy

      Reply
  • 33. rpx  |  February 2, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    I jsut wrote a really good comment and it doens’t show up, why? This isn’t the first time this has happened.

    Reply
  • 34. JPM  |  February 2, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    You’re all missing the Catch 22.

    The Pentagon study will take a year. Congress thus has an excuse not to pass legislation until the study is complete.

    At the point the study is complete, because of the likely outcome of the 2010 election, there will no longer be (assuming there ever was) enough votes in Congress to repeal DADT.

    Reply
    • 35. Sarah  |  February 2, 2010 at 5:59 pm

      I kind of wondered about the possibility of that, but when it gets into all of this I am shamefully ignorant. Anyone have any thoughts?

      Reply
  • 36. Kate  |  February 2, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    In the interim I’d love to see a stop-gap solution of interpreting the common shorthand for the policy a more literally: “don’t ask” clearly suggests that anyone making inquiries to determine someone else’s orientation should be disciplined, and “don’t tell” suggests that if you’re pointing fingers at someone else YOU should be the one disciplined, not the person you’re trying to out.

    … I think that reinterpretation would expedite the process of getting rid of the policy once and for all.

    Reply
    • 37. Richard W. Fitch  |  February 2, 2010 at 5:51 pm

      This from Wikipedia gives the full title. If the full intent of the act had been enforced from the outset. Many of the discharges would never have occurred.

      Don’t ask, don’t tell (DADT) is the common term for the policy stopping openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals from serving in the United States military, as mandated by federal law Pub.L. 103-160 (10 U.S.C. § 654). Unless one of the exceptions from 10 U.S.C. § 654(b) applies, the policy prohibits anyone who “demonstrate(s) a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts” from serving in the armed forces of the United States, because “it would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.” The act prohibits any homosexual or bisexual person from disclosing his or her sexual orientation or from speaking about any homosexual relationships, including marriages or other familial attributes, while serving in the United States armed forces. The “don’t ask” part of the policy indicates that superiors should not initiate investigation of a service member’s orientation in the absence of disallowed behaviors, though credible and articulable evidence of homosexual behavior may cause an investigation. Violations of this aspect through persecutions and harrassment of suspected servicemen and women resulted in the policy’s current formulation as don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t pursue, don’t harass.

      Reply
  • 38. Ronnie  |  February 2, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    LIVING A LIE

    Reply
  • 39. Dove59  |  February 2, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    I agree there is nothing left to study, and I think they know that. They are trying to keep the retired, senior military off their backs. In today’s charged political environment, I think they are wise to appear to proceed more slowly than we would like — to avoid the kind of vicious Congressional backlash that derailed Clinton 16 years ago.

    I think the Pentagon is going to use its administrative discretion to discharge far, far fewer in the next year — and then they will have “experience” to show that DADT can be eliminated altogether.

    This is a longer process than we want, but I think it is better tuned to arrive at the right destination.

    Reply
    • 40. Marlene Bomer  |  February 3, 2010 at 9:49 am

      Exactly, Dove — it’s clearly generational.

      Reply
  • 41. nicknjh  |  February 2, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    This is ridiculous. In Canada in 1992 it went like this:

    October 27: Federal court rules excluding LBGT people from the military is a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    October 28: Chief of Defence Staff issues a statement confirming that “Canadians, regardless of their sexual orientation, will now be able to serve their country in the Canadian Forces without restriction.”

    Done and done.

    Reply
    • 42. Ed-M  |  February 2, 2010 at 6:19 pm

      @nicknjh, This is the United States you’re talking about. Winston Churchill had it right when he said that America will finally do the right thing after it has tried everything else.

      Reply
      • 43. Richard W. Fitch  |  February 2, 2010 at 6:24 pm

        “We are the leaders of the Free World! [Ok, Canada, UK, Israel, show us what we’re supposed to do and we will lead.] All right men let’s go!!

        Reply
  • 44. Ronnie  |  February 2, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    HRS’s Legacy of Service Camapign

    Reply
  • 45. bluprntguy  |  February 2, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    If they really do suspend discharge of service members whose sexual orientation is “revealed by third parties or jilted partners,” that is, in essence an end to the policy.

    Reply
  • 46. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  February 2, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Today, with his stand on finding a way to repeal DADT ( and unltimately the UCMJ ban on homosexuals) our JCS Chairman Admiral Mike mullen gives me reason to proudly state that I am a veteran of the United States Navy. This is the first time in a long time that I have been 100% proud to be a Navy vet. Finally, with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff stating that the JCS supports repealing DADT, I can lay claim to this part of my history with full pride. The repeal of DADT brings me one step closer to being a full citizen. You Go, Admiral Mullen!

    Reply
  • 47. slsmith66  |  February 2, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Some of the small minded ideas I’ve heard while blogging on local news sources..
    1. How will you bunk gay/lesbian/bi service members?
    2. Will there be seperate showers?
    3. How would you incooperate this on a submarine/navel ship?
    4. What if the hetero service members are “uncomfortable” around homosexual ones?

    So I’m pretty sure this small mind thinking is going on for the dod, etc. Somehow I bet even when they come to a conclusion open homosexuals will still not be treated equal. I gander there will be fewer promotions and so on for many years to come till the newer generations are more excepting.

    Reply
    • 48. Ronnie  |  February 2, 2010 at 5:26 pm

      I’ve hear those too and I reply with

      1. The same way we did before, It’s now you know that they are gay. Deal with it!

      2. Did you care about shower with other naked men before? Guess what, they were gay then too.

      3. The same way it was done before, just now you that they are gay, seriously its that simple.

      4. It’s your job, deal with it or quit. What if they are uncomfortable being around you too? seriousle what are you like 5….”hes got coodies”

      Reply
    • 49. Sarah  |  February 2, 2010 at 6:08 pm

      As sad as it is to hear I think some of these are the legitimate questions of people who just don’t know any better. They really don’t know how to interact with GLBT people. I think that with time people will become more comfortable with everything. I know some people and some news outlets will use questions like these against us, but honestly, I would never have a problem with someone wondering these things before they have much interaction with GLBTs. As soon as I got to college, I told my roommates that I am bi right away so they would never feel like it had been hidden from them, and I would have understood if they’d had similar questions. Fortunately they didn’t and the year went just fine.

      Reply
    • 50. Richard W. Fitch  |  February 2, 2010 at 6:08 pm

      For several years, I attended a retreat for Gay Naturists, approx 850 naked gay men together for up to 10 days. And it might surprise some to find out that it was not a 240 hr orgy. There were lectures, talent shows, various contests, arts & crafts exhibit, evening disco,…….. Likewise there were designated times and places for more uninhibited behavior. ;-) This was a vacation. On the other hand, we are discussing the expected behavior of men and women who accepted a call to professional military service by their country. If they are not mature enough to abide by the MCJ while in active service, they don’t belong there in the first place. If a bunch of naked gay guys understand the need for discipline and decorum, certainly our armed forces personnel should be capable of that as well.

      Reply
  • 51. Chief's Pea  |  February 2, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    bluprntguy; It doesn’t really end the policy, because gay people still can’t be openly gay. We still have to “pretend” that we aren’t. If we are openly gay, then we still get kicked out.

    My partner is a retired Navy Chief and STILL can’t be openly gay because for another 7 years she can be re-called. She would, at that point lose her retirement benefits because she would get dishonorably discharged. She put in 23 years, putting her life on the line every day. (not a desk job or a non-combat job) and still has to hide who she is and who she loves.

    Reply
    • 52. Sarah  |  February 2, 2010 at 6:26 pm

      I really feel for you and your partner, what a tough situation. I’ll admit that I often forget that even after service is over the terms of the policy are not. People who serve don’t just have to hide who they are while they serve but after they come home as well and that is just sad sad sad.

      Reply
      • 53. Chief's Pea  |  February 3, 2010 at 3:41 pm

        Thanks, Sarah. We will simply wait and be begrudgingly patient.

        Perhaps some day I will be allowed to be on her medical insurance she receives through the military. Until then, we cannot affor what it would cost per month to get me adequate health coverage.

        Unti then, we will remain second class citizens without he same rights as others.

        Reply
  • 54. R Lavigueur  |  February 2, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Sadly, you still find Canadians (generally Canadians who are not in the military) asking these same childish questions about how men in the army will cope now that our news is covering the DADT story in the US. They literally don’t even seem to realize that our country has allowed LGBT people to serve for almost twenty years now. Pointing that out to them brings me no small measure of satisfaction.

    Not to say that harassment and homophobia no longer exist inside the military, but taking away the institutional basis for it makes it much like other areas of society. Sexism is rampant in the military as well, but few suggest that the solution is to ban women from serving so that sexist men can be comfortable. The government doesn’t (anymore) suggest that we shouldn’t allow gays and lesbians to serve in office because it might make some people uncomfortable; and such examples are innnumerable.

    Bottom line: it won’t lead to the collapse of the military any more than same sex marriage will lead to the collapse of marriage or having gay veterinarians will turn all of our puppies gay. It is nothing short of amazing to me how fragile these people honestly believe that heterosexuals and their institutions are. Are straight men really that insecure? I know plenty who I’d like to believe are not.

    In 2008 members of the Canadian Forces marched in uniform in the Toronto Pride parade for the first time, and a month later same for Vancouver. Hopefully, it won’t take 16 years from the removal of DADT in the US for the American military to progress far enough to let that happen there, but however long it takes, there cannot be meaningful equality as long as DADT is allowed to remain the military’s policy.

    Reply
    • 55. Felyx  |  February 3, 2010 at 3:55 pm

      Ahhhuhhh…..I want a gay puppy!

      Reply
      • 56. fiona64  |  February 3, 2010 at 3:56 pm

        I have a neutered tomcat who is gay. This doesn’t disturb me much, but the fact that he is a rapist? That’s a problem. The kitty who was his willing partner died of a congenital heart defect and ever since then he’s been forcing his unwanted attention on my other two tomcats. :-/

        Reply
      • 57. Ronnie  |  February 3, 2010 at 4:02 pm

        My 3&1/2yo Long haired Chihuahua is named Woody and is limp wrist-ed(both front paws) bump use to hump my 2 female….Does that make him Bi?

        Reply
      • 58. Ronnie  |  February 3, 2010 at 4:03 pm

        Ok no lets try that again i left out a word:

        My 3&1/2yo Long haired Chihuahua is named Woody and is limp wrist-ed(both front paws) bump use to hump my 2 female cats….Does that make him Bi?

        Reply
      • 59. nightshayde  |  February 3, 2010 at 6:55 pm

        One of our (neutered) cats sexually assaults another one of the (neutered) male cats. When we hear the sounds of … um … naughtiness, we roll our eyes about Brokeback Kitty Mountain (or is that Mountin’?).

        When the bottom kitty gets tired of the attention, he protests & is able to get away.

        Reply
  • 60. C.  |  February 2, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    While being open in the military is a privilege I hope to enjoy soon when I enlist in the AF, I do see the need to discuss and plan out how to repeal DADT.
    There are still too many people who are either uncomfortable around or all-out hostile toward gay men and women– this can effect morale and there will be some tension, I think; especially if the repeal of DADT isn’t implemented correctly.
    How do you bunk the men together, when some of the men are vocal in their hatred of gays? Will there be LGBT Friendly dorms, like at Universities?
    What if some women refuse to shower or change with the lesbians in the room?
    These concerns cannot be hand-waved away by telling the soldiers to suck it up. Whether we like it or not, things are different when you come out of the closet. “Gays have been in the military for twenty years” only means that they didn’t know who to be nervous around beforehand.
    I used to spend the night at my friend’s house all the time; after I came out, yeah, I still spent the night, but no longer did I sleep in her bed with her– I got the couch.
    These things can’t be ignored, and there’s a reason the military is taking its time figuring out how to handle it. As someone said above me, if they accept the LGBT community, they run the risk of alienating the more conservative recruits; but, as they have already seen, by NOT allowing the LGBT community they’ve alienated… the LGBT community. And its supporters.
    Kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t sort of situation.

    That said, I am so excited to proudly serve my country– not as a lesbian, not as a sexual deviant and not as a dyke– but as a proud citizens who revels in not having to hide, be defined by or otherwise hindered by her lifestyle.
    But, right now, I’m willing to sit tight and wait, and hope that it’s worth it.

    Reply
    • 61. nicknjh  |  February 3, 2010 at 12:22 am

      You’re making far too big a deal of it. Other countries have literally changed their discriminatory policies overnight. In Canada, a 1985 survey of 6,500 male soldiers found that 62% said that they would refuse to share showers, undress or sleep in the same room as a gay soldier. After the ban was lifted in 1992, follow-up studies found no increase in disciplinary, performance, recruitment, sexual misconduct, or resignation problems.

      Also, a study concluded 10 years after the ban was lifted found:

      * lifting of restrictions has not led to any change in military performance, unit cohesion, or discipline.
      * Self-identified gay, lesbian, and transsexual members of the Canadian Forces contacted for the study describe good working relationships with peers.
      * The percent of military women who experienced sexual harassment dropped 46% after the ban was lifted. While there were several reasons why harassment declined, one factor was that after the ban was lifted women were free to report assaults without fear that they would be accused of being a lesbian.

      This is a “rip off the bandage” situation, plain and simple. The military already has conduct regulations in place to deal with any issue that might arise.

      Reply
    • 62. Felyx  |  February 3, 2010 at 4:16 pm

      Base on military experience and others stories, I would predict that the biggest change that will occure will be the wording of the Military Code of Conduct. Apart from that, gays will still keep their personal lives fairly personal, they will continue to avoid haters, they will still be exposed, picked on and transferred, and the higher up they go in rank, the more it just won’t matter. The only reason you should wait to join, as I see it, is if you wish to retain your ethical integrity by not lying when you have to sign ‘the form’. Otherwise, now is as good as any time. You won’t get investigated and the change in discharge process has already taken effect.

      Good Luck!

      Reply
  • 63. Robin  |  February 2, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    “Stand by what I said: Allowing homosexuals to serve openly is the right thing to do. Comes down to integrity.”

    Wonderful; now please stop calling them “homosexuals.” Especially in a tweet, you’d think there of all places he’d use a shorter word.

    Reply
  • 64. Anne  |  February 3, 2010 at 11:52 am

    My worry about the military taking a year to study this – the next Congress might have quite a few more republicans in it, and the Dems might lose what little spine they have left. Is the miliary really stalling in hopes of a changed political climate?

    On the other hand, loved the strong comments in favor ot eliminating it.

    (did it take a year of study to integrate the armed forces? doubt it…)

    Reply
  • 65. draNgNon  |  February 3, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Responding to the post without reading the comments:

    I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens

    ok I know some people in (as well as recently out of) the military. the opposite is also very true, and very detrimental to morale: that men and women who don’t want to keep defending their fellow citizens, have a Get Out of Combat Free card just by lying about who they are and claiming they are gay when they are not.

    DADT is inherently unfair from multiple points of view, and no doubt their study over the next year will reveal that to be a motivator.

    Reply

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