Activists of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) Left have been celebrating the end of the 1993 law stating that homosexuals are not eligible to serve in the military, always mislabeled “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT).” This dubious achievement did not result from convincing arguments related to combat readiness. Former Defense Robert Gates promised no benefits for the military−only problems to be “mitigated.” To divert attention, the campaign for repeal employed administration-coordinated deception, faux “research” from LGBT activists, sophistry, questionable tactics, and misuse of the military’s own culture of obedience.
During the Orlando Fox News presidential debate, former Senator Rick Santorum, in answer to a question, correctly noted that an unprecedented social experiment has been imposed on the military. Thanks to President Obama and a few misguided Republicans (including Congressman Ron Paul of Texas), the armed forces are now burdened with a new LGBT law that the lame-duck Congress passed before anyone knew what was in it.
Members of the current House Armed Services Committee, during hearings in April and July, asked Pentagon officials tough questions about thorny issues that remain unresolved, such as same-sex marriage on military bases and extension of family benefits, concerns about personal privacy, and religious rights of conscience. The witnesses just denied or downplayed expected problems, repeatedly answering, “I don’t know.”
HASC Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, in a stunning July 28 committee hearing statement, cited a Defense Department Inspector General investigation report that refuted the legend of military support for repeal. According to that report, the vaunted 2010 Pentagon survey on the subject was, as McKeon stated, “so pre-determined that the final report was being drafted before the surveys were even sent to the troops.”
McKeon added, “The [lame-duck] Congress seized the conclusions of the faulty report and forced through a repeal bill over the stated reservations of the service chiefs…” In July Pentagon officials responded by playing keep-away games with the senior military leaders’ memoranda regarding the repeal, allowing committee members to briefly see the documents but not retain copies for public review.
All of this controversy preceded Chairman McKeon’s remarkable September 12 letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, pointedly ignored by the Pentagon, which called for delay in implementation until the required written regulations are provided. Contrary to media reports, PowerPoint slides, media handouts, and a single-page “Quick Reference Guide” do not qualify.
In the meantime, gay activist groups are demanding swift imposition of controversial policy changes that contradict previous assurances that the administration gave to Congress. According to the Washington Times, in an August 11 letter to Secretary Panetta, Aubrey Sarvis of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) disingenuously suggested that it would be “simple” to add “sexual orientation” to the five categories (race, color, sex, religion, and national origin) that are currently covered under the Military Equal Opportunity (MEO) program and Human Goals Charter.
Such a change, he argued, would justify ten mostly-new administrative policies. LGBT activists expect access for same-sex couples (with or without children) to military family housing, commissaries, exchanges, medical facilities, and morale/recreation programs. They also want provisions for legal aid and courtroom testimonial immunity for same-sex couples, provisions for joint duty assignments, certain deployment exemptions, and space-available travel privileges for “command-sponsored dependents.”
The Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG), which produced a report on the subject last November, denied that sexual minorities would be covered under the Military Equal Opportunity program. The same Pentagon report compared gays in the military to previous civil rights advances for racial minorities and women. Federal courts are likely to enforce the latter interpretation, taking the LGBT law to extremes that could seriously undermine the culture of our military.
Air Force 1st Lt. Josh Seefried, the head of a formerly-underground group called “Outserve,” told the Washington Times that he wants targeted recruitment of gays, just like other minorities, and representation at gay pride parades. Outserve is publishing a special interest magazine for distribution on military bases, and the group is planning an October “summit” in Las Vegas to discuss what LGBT personnel want from the military. Separatism in the military invites trouble. Some European forces have labor unions that negotiate benefits, but our military does not permit active-duty unions or factions that would disrupt unity of purpose in the ranks.
The Pentagon keeps insisting that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) will preclude same-sex marriage benefits and associated costs, but such assurances are not credible. The Obama Justice Department has joined with gay activists in demanding that federal courts declare the DOMA to be unconstitutional, and the Pentagon will not oppose inevitable lawsuits with arguments contrary to the Justice Department.
Gay activists already dismiss the DOMA as irrelevant. SLDN recommendations use terms such as “spouse,” “couples,” “family,” and “dependents,” which are undefined or vaguely connected to marriage or civil partnerships that are legal in only a few states. How long would the gay couple have to be committed to each other in order to receive benefits? One year, one month…? In the military’s New Gender Order, absent regulations, conceivable qualifications for military spouse ID cards bestowing housing, travel, and other privileges would be unclear and inconsistent.
As Chairman McKeon has stated, “[T]he repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell resulted from a process that insulted the legislative and oversight responsibilities of the House of Representatives.” President Obama has delivered on his political promises to the LGBT Left. It will be up to the next president and Congress to review the consequences honestly, and to find ways to mitigate the damage.