The Devil in
history is replete with revolutions demanding
change and when at last change came it often wasn't
what had been hoped for. That is one of
the reasons that people fear change, aside from
their being prejudiced and selfish. In the
Middle East, there are currently people-power
revolutions demanding democracy; but the fear is
that they may instead end up with repressive
fundamentalist religious regimes.
home in America there are two competing
revolutions, one pressing for progress on
rights, and the other pushing backward as hard
as possible. That sort of conflict, in our
convoluted political system, often results in
unfortunate compromises such as the DADT policy
which was enacted in 1993 to simultaneously both
allow and disallow patriotic gay Americans to
serve in our armed forces. In brief, it
said that homosexuals may serve as long as they
never let anyone know that they are gay.
You don't have to be an idiot or a genus to hear
that and have trouble understanding it, because
it made no sense at all. And yet, our
nation's leaders at that time stood in public in
front of TV cameras with "straight" faces and
declared it to be a great achievement.
years of convoluted chaos ensued during which
more than fourteen thousand patriotic volunteers
were discriminatively discharged, mostly honorably, due
to being homosexuals. So, they were
considered to have served "honorably" and yet be
not fit to serve? Lives and careers were
destroyed by those discharges, and unit cohesion
was constantly disrupted by the removal of
highly trained and respected members.
In 2005, Congressman Marty Meehan
introduced the Military Readiness Enhancement
Act (MREA) which would have repealed DADT and
enacted detailed laws against discrimination in
our armed forces, among other provisions.
It was introduced twice more but never went
anywhere, of course, due to conservatives who
lived to prey on prejudice. Perversely, it
also included a provision that stated that the
Act in no way would require the provision of
partner benefits due to the prohibitions
inherent in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA),
apparently in a vain attempt to appease the
bigots on the right.
December, the "compromise" bill that was
eventually passed just before Christmas, which
authorized the repeal of DADT, was brief and
stripped of all the detailed protections and
provisions that had been written into MREA,
EXCEPT for that damn exclusion of partner
benefits prohibited by DOMA.
So, now we
are in the transition period as the Pentagon
prepares the troops for serving alongside people
they've been serving alongside all along.
They are engaged in one of the most massive
"training" programs ever by our military.
Roughly two million members of our armed forces
are being presented with PowerPoint slide shows,
written educational materials, live lectures,
and maybe even comic books written at the sixth
grade level of comprehension. Imagining
the stuffy bureaucratic style of past U.S. Armed
Forces training materials could make this
hilarious if it weren't so damn serious. I
get sick just thinking about some middle aged
martinet, promoted above his level of
competence, trying to lead a discussion on the
topic. "Men... uh I mean, men, today we
are going to learn about h h h, hom uh er, g g
gays (by this time he's beet red and
sweating, of course)..." Meanwhile, his
much younger audience is choking to death, and
pissing in their pants, trying to keep from
laughing their asses off. They don't need
the discussion; they've known gay peers all
their lives and have served in combat with us.
Oh dear! What a gargantuan and unnecessary
Meanwhile, the DoD is grappling with
establishing policies regarding all the details
that were left out of the bill that was passed.
Will those reentering the service, after having
been booted out under DADT, get credit for time
in service and grade? Will there be a fast
track for discharge upgrades and documentation
reissued without "due to homosexuality"
poisonously emblazoned for potential civilian
employers to see? How can newly equal
members of our armed forces still be denied
equal benefits such as on base family housing,
family sick leave, family medical benefits and
education, family this and family that?
Many of these issues are described in a mid
February article in the
As the article notes, pending new DoD policies
state, that "harassment or abuse based on sexual
orientation is unacceptable," among other
details being developed.
perspective, the Pentagon is determined to do
its best to deal with these details as fairly as
possible. They have listed some benefits
that can be designated by service members
regardless of their relationship to the
beneficiary and, as noted above, discrimination
will not be tolerated. Is that just as
good as Executive Orders or laws enacted by
Congress requiring equality and prohibiting
discrimination? No, it's not.
federal agencies have found ways to make
exceptions to some implied bans on partner
benefits based on DOMA; and there are Executive
Orders and laws prohibiting discrimination that
apply in those civilian agencies. But,
thus far the Pentagon has been left on its own
to try to create full equality out of thin air
for newly emancipated gay and lesbian patriotic
volunteers serving in our armed forces.
are rising for Executive Orders and
Congressional legislation to provide equal
protection in our military. Will that
happen? Well, I said that I'd eat my
combat boots if DADT were repealed last
December; I'm not making any more
predictions. However, there is hope for
equality; as of this writing, the Obama
Administration has announced that the President
and Department of Justice will no longer defend
the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA); thus paving
the way for possible equal benefits.
been celebrating the incredible repeal of DADT;
but, we're not done; inequality demanded by
bigots remains the law of the land.
Transgender troops, serving openly without
difficulty in our allied nations for over a
decade, must still suffer remaining hidden here.
An American solider, shot and wounded,
recovering at Ramstein, will have the joy of his
spouse being flown out to be with him; but not if
he's married to a same sex partner. His
blood and Purple Heart are the same colors as
those of the guy in the next bed. Tell
that to your conservative congressman before you
think the campaign for our rights is done.