Thursday, January 08, 2009

Gay members in the Military

Read the piece in Newsweek titled Don’t Ask Too Fast
In that article it discusses the President –elect’s stated goal to allow openly Gay men and women into the Military Ranks. In the article I found interesting the passage

In the next year, Mullen might have to ask troops to do something many will find even more uncomfortable: welcome openly gay men and women into their ranks. Such was the promise made by President-elect Obama in the 2008 campaign—gay-rights groups will hold him to it. To many civilians, the shift might seem natural. American attitudes toward homosexuality have evolved since 1993, the year Congress mandated that gays could serve so long as they hid their sexual orientation. The law, known as Don't Ask, Don't Tell, predates "Will & Grace," and for most Americans, even the Internet. A 2008 Washington Post–ABC News poll put public support for gays serving openly at 75 percent.

But the military has its own culture, more insular and more conservative than the broader population's. In a survey of active-duty service members released last week, 58 percent said they oppose any change in the military's policy toward gays. Up to 23 percent of troops might not re-enlist if the law is repealed, according to a Military Times poll. Mullen will have to act as kind of cultural mediator between his new boss and the old institution he has managed for more than a year. That will mean advising Obama on what changes the military can (and cannot) withstand and then obliging troops to accept them.

In my mind, most military members really don’t care what sexual orientation, gender, religion or background you have any more than we want to know what is the color of your underwear. What is important is your ability to do your job in context of the overall mission. Military people are aware that Gay men and women already serve with distinction…its not going to really change things if a gay man or women does not hide that fact in the future if they can perform as part of the team completing the mission (and they can). Don’t ask, Don’t tell did not prevent Gay members from serving, it became an exit strategy for some (gay or not) and a rallying call for others (most of whom do not serve). The answer to the issue is probably to drop Don’t Ask, Don’t tell and allow members from throughout the community to serve with Honor and without unnecessary scrutiny into sexual orientation.


Infantry Dad said...

Kudos Stan.
I couldn't agree more.
I am a 58 year old straight married male. Father of three sons, the youngest serving with the 2nd Infantry Div, and a former reservist myself.
I admit that I have never understood gay. But I understand that it exists, and know several people, some of whom are very good friends, that are gay.
The bottom line is that if a person has the desire to serve our country in the military, they need to be allowed that opportunity.
They should be judged by their performance, not race, sex, or sexual orientation.
And last but not least they should be honored for their service.
Great post.

Anonymous said...

hey stan i commented one of your previous blog entrys about your daughters unit, and a soilder from her unit. Just currious if you could acknowlage it as true or false i dont need details as i could imagin you not wanting to give them out. Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Stan, infrequently checking in...good post, strongly worded, unequivical and (imo), correct.