Monday, December 20, 2010

Is repeal of DADT the "turning point"? Or was the wedge crossed in 1993?

The repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” should mark a milestone in public attitudes toward LGBT people. The public recognition of the capacity to take part in defending the country should guide some people to understand that the rights (and autonomy) of LGBT people are to be respected in personal matters, and not to be looked at a matter of family subservience or expropriation.

I can remember that back in 1993, for the government and military to say it wouldn’t “ask” was perevied as an “advance.” (Actually, as Andrew Sullivan once wrote, it was more like “ask, if necessary”.) In a way, on paper, DADT might have been perceived as a step in “respecting autonomy.” But the Internet and associated cultural changes have completely wiped away the credibility of “double lives” as we had accepted the idea a few decades ago. George Stephanopoulos had said back around 1994, "social changes and advances always come gradually."  But maybe not.

Both the DADT problem and gay marriage seem to invoke arguments that suppose that if there are equal rights, then non-gay people will not be able to do what they are supposed to do. A weird way to argue.

David S. Fahrenhold has a long article in the Washington Post (front page) Dec. 20, “For gay rights, is the end of the “don’t ask” military ban the end or the beginning?” link here. ABC’s The View on Monday morning expressed similar sentiments.

Note that SLDN (Servicemembers Legal Defense Network) warns LGBT servicemembers to behave very carefully now, during the "certification" period, with the "risk" Legal Guide link here. At the moment, DADT is still in effect!

Elisabeth Bumiller has an article in the New York Times today, "A How-to Guide for a New Miltiary", link here. Will there be a "DADT Repeal for Dummies" book?

On Monday, The Washington Times ran a story by Seth McLaughlin about GOP Virginia delegate Robert G. Marshall and a planned bill to implement the military ban in the Virginia National Guard (link here. -- or pardon me, is that "don't ask don't tell"?)  He says states control their own militia and would never have ratified the Constitution without it.

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