Almost Honest

The tombstone of Leonard Matovich reads, “When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.”  Matovich was a Vietnam War veteran and perhaps the best-known gay man in USA during the 1970s, a time before “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Bravery is being the only one who knows you're afraid.

DADT, as it is often refered to, is viewed by many in the queer community (myself included)to be an archaic discriminatory policy that needs to be ended immediately.  After all, as anyone who has served can tell you, the military is not a democracy.  To quote my local Michigan senator Carl Levin, “An army is … a meritocracy, where advancement depends not on who you are, but on how well you do your job. The meritocratic nature of our military has made it a leader in civil rights. It can be again on this issue.  There is little reason to continue this policy.” {Read more: bit.ly/cw0Qc3}

Per Reagan’s Defense Directive 1332.14, it has been standard policy that “homosexuality is incompatible with military service” and persons who engaged in homosexual acts or stated that they are homosexual or bisexual were discharged.  For those of you who unaware of Pub.L. 103-160, it prohibits anyone who “demonstrate(s) a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts” from serving in the United States military under the assertation that “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 queer person from disclosing his or her sexual orientattion or speaking about any homosexual relationships, including marriages or other familial attributes, while serving in the United States military.

As it exists, DADT specifies that 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 harassment of suspected servicemen and women resulted in the policy’s current formulation as don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t harass, don’t pursue.

Nevertheless, at the time of its inception in 1993, the new policy on Queers serving in the military was seen as a liberal concession in then President Bill Clinton’s radical campaign  promise to allow all citizens to serve in the military regardless of sexual orientation.  Congress overrode Clinton’s attempts at equality but on December 21, 1993 the Clinton Administration issued Defense Directive 1304.26, which directed that military applicants were not to be asked about their sexual orientation.  It is (erroneously) viewed by many as “protection” for our Queer brothers and sisters serving in the military.  However, I LOUDLY decry this position.  Asking or best and brightest military personnel to lie about fundamental truths about themselves goes against everything we as soldiers and sailors are taught.  What happened to honor, courage and commitment?  From the first day of boot camp, it is instilled in us that in order to be good leaders we must uphold ourselves to the highest standards of moral integrity, to do what is right now matter what, even if no one is looking.  So I’d like to ask our military leaders, our admirals and generals, our Congress, and, perhaps most importantly, our Commander-in-Chief President Obama, why, with all the world looking on, do you not do the right thing?  Poll after poll show that the American public overwhelmingly supports allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the military.  The miltary serves the people, and the people have spoken.  It’s time for our leaders to take note, then stand up and do the right thing.

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