During the 2010 debate about gays in the military, LGBT activists kept insisting they only wanted lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender personnel to serve quietly in the military − no special treatment. On the list of promises that Congress should not have believed, this was one of the first to be broken.
Now that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has been repealed, the Department of Defense keeps changing rules to please the LGBT Left. Turning on a dime, the Defense Department has gone from disapproval of gay culture to celebration of it, taking the lead in defining “diversity” down.
Witness the Gay Pride Parade in San Diego on Saturday, July 21. According to the Associated Press, dozens of uniformed military personnel marched alongside an old Army truck decorated with a “Freedom to Serve” banner and a rainbow flag. Their uniforms “stood out among the flower-bedecked floats and scantily clad revelers.”
Military uniforms are important and until now, strict rules were applied consistently. Defense Department regulations prohibit the wearing of uniforms at political, commercial, and special interest events, or in ways that “may tend to bring discredit upon the Armed Forces.” With the exception of Medal of Honor recipients, former military personnel may wear their uniforms only for authorized or formal occasions, including memorial services, weddings, inaugurals, and parades on national or state holidays that are of a patriotic character.
Nevertheless, after a female reservist made news by obtaining permission to march in uniform in the San Diego parade, a Pentagon Community and Public Outreach official, Rene Bardorf, cited media attention as an excuse to allow servicemembers in uniform to participate in the San Diego Gay Parade for one time only.
This compromised standard will last about as long as it takes former Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to pick up the phone. When she demands the presence of uniformed LGBT military personnel at the next San Francisco Gay Pride Parade, the Defense Department won’t be able to put their foot down; they’ve already ripped out the floor.
But the new standard will not work both ways. Reuters reported that in a second memo, Bardorf said that for future parades, local commanders would be given discretion to approve participation unless the event is “likely to garner international interest or news coverage.”
Doublespeak Translation: Uniformed LGBT personnel can march in publicized gay pride parades, but others who want to wear their uniforms at a publicized Tea Party, National Rifle Association, or Right to Life event will not have the same rights of “self-expression.”
Controversies such as this have occurred in San Diego before. In 2007, a battalion chief directly ordered city firefighters to ride a fire engine in a Gay Pride Parade that involved lewd behavior. The firefighters experienced verbal abuse and rude gestures from the crowd, causing four of them to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against the city. A jury ruled in their favor, and the California Supreme Court upheld that decision in January 2011.
Will our military men and women be forced to participate in public gay pride events? They already have.
On June 15, President Barack Obama celebrated his fourth “LGBT Equality Month” celebration at the White House. Following Obama’s welcome, giddy activists at the reception showed contempt for the portrait of President Ronald Reagan with offensive hand-gestures. A Philly Post video posted on Drudge showed a transgender marriage proposal, same-sex PDA, and dancing to the music of the Marine Band.
Marines in the band who were offended by these antics were not free to express their views. Gay pride celebrations allow “free expression” for some, but not for all.
Despite signs of trouble in the ranks, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta proclaimed June to be LGBT Pride Month. A poster featuring the armed forces’ official symbols promoted a June 26 celebration in the Pentagon auditorium. On that day Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Johnson took his victory lap on repeal of the 1993 law known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
In 2010, Johnson co-chaired the Comprehensive Review Working Group that laid the groundwork for LGBT law. As first reported by CMR in 2011, the Defense Department Inspector General investigated the activities of Johnson’s Working Group, which helped the president to deliver on his promises to LGBT activists.
According to the Inspector General, Johnson pre-scripted results of the official survey of troops on the repeal legislation, polishing the report’s Executive Summary in July 2010, before the survey instrument was sent to thousands of military personnel.
The well-spun summary, leaked to the media in November, misrepresented the views of military personnel on repeal. Congress rushed to pass the legislation during the December lame-duck session. LGBT activists pocketed that victory and keep demanding more.
In 2010 Jeh Johnson and his Working Group assured Congress that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) would preclude same-sex marriages and related benefits. Those promises were meant to be broken too.
Shortly after LGBT law and related policies took effect in September 2011, General Counsel Johnson issued a memo circumventing the Defense of Marriage Act, which the administration no longer defends in court. Several same-sex marriage ceremonies have taken place on military bases, and inherently divisive “gay pride” events keep pushing for controversial special interest goals such as full marriage benefits for same-sex couples.
The military is a unique institution that encourages shared values and selfless sacrifice, not separatist factions and pressure groups demanding special status and benefits. Pentagon officials should support the majority of men and women in the military instead of making exceptions to score political points with the LGBT Left.