Stop Locking Gay Patriots in the Closet!

I find myself in the unusual position of agreeing wholeheartedly with a Democrat from Massachusetts: Representative Martin T. Meehan is sponsoring legislation to repeal our military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and I couldn’t be more behind him.

We all know there are homosexuals in the military.  But as a matter of policy, we’ve been perfectly willing to let them go get their guts blown out on our behalf as long as they aren’t honest about who they are.  And why?  Because it makes some people uncomfortable.

Often, supporters of “don’t ask, don’t tell” argue that the policy is necessary because our soldiers cannot function effectively as a unit with open homosexuals in their midst.  I believe this rationale is pernicious on several levels.  First, it assumes that the majority of young men and women in the military are raging homophobes whose training, intelligence, and judgment would shake to pieces merely because a gay person is present in their unit.  That’s pretty insulting, and untrue to boot: young people today are dramatically more tolerant and “cool with” gay people.  As cited in the article linked below, a 2006 Zogby poll found that 73% of the military are “comfortable” serving with gays.

Secondly, the “our military will fall apart” rationale implies that homosexuals somehow don’t fit in with their straight peers; that their presence is inherently disruptive and upsetting.  Most young people I know have no problem being around a gay person unless that person is aggressively and inappropriately sexual, e.g., making aggressive advances to someone they know is straight.   But don’t we have sexual harassment policies in place to prevent and deal with such behavior?  Why can’t gay people just be subject to the same rules that bind everyone else–no fraternization, no harassment, etc.?

Third, the rationale reminds me of what racist white people say about interracial marriage; namely, that they oppose it because it’s “so hard on the children” of interracial couples.  Hmm, let’s think about that for a second.  Why is it hard on those children?  Because people are racists.  My response to those people is always, “Why should we allow moral decisionmaking to be dictated by the immoral prejudices of racists?” 

Similarly, some oppose repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” because that would make homophobes uncomfortable.  But why should we dishonor the service of homosexual patriots, in order to protect the ignorance or hatred of a few homophobes?  I say, let gay soldiers serve our country with no disguises or forced pretenses, and hold them to the same behavioral standards as other soldiers.  We should treat all our troops–gay or straight–with respect and pride.

http://washingtontimes.com/national/20070228-113750-3284r_page2.htm

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~ by lewdandlascivious on March 1, 2007.

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