Don't Ask, Don't Tell

If gays in the military are such a bad thing, why does the number of dismissals fall when we're at war?

As the United States military continues to wage war in Iraq and Afghanistan, discharges of lesbian and gay military personnel plummeted 17% in FY2003, according to a new report from Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN).

Conduct Unbecoming, an annual review of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, finds that gay-related discharges fell to 787 last year, down from 906 in 2002. The 2003 figures mark a 39% decrease in discharges since 2001, the year before current conflicts in the Middle East began. The number also represents the fewest gay discharges since 1995.

“Gay discharge numbers have dropped every time America has entered a war,” the report says, “from Korea to Vietnam to the Persian Gulf to present conflicts.” It goes on to note that “more of our allies have dropped their bans, and our American troops are fighting alongside openly lesbian, gay and bisexual allied personnel in the war on terrorism.”

If our military leaders are so concerned about homos serving, they should be consistent and refuse to work with most of our allies. According to SLDN, the United States and Turkey are the only two NATO countries that do not allow openly gay soldiers.

"First the military, now marriage. Why do gays in this country want into our worst institutions?"

-The Onion

Oh, I don't dispute that, Mr. Swill! I don't want to have anything to do with either of those, and I have never been an activist for them either, except by showing up at a couple of marriage demos.

I think of the gay marriage issues as one of separating church and state, which I am all in favor of. I also know that we're not likely to have a decent healthcare system any time soon, if ever, so if gay marriage gets more people health insurance, it's a good thing. So is being able to visit a partner in the hospital without having to go to court, or not having your children taken away if the birth parent dies.

Given that this country isn't likely to ever have a jobs program for poor people other than the military, I have to say it should be open to everyone.

Frankly, the fact that some are pushing gay marriage when we can still be fired in most of the country doesn't say much for priorities. I don't agree with the "they'll finally like us if we act like conservative suburban people" tactics.

I have to agree about the priorities. I just had a debate about the push for "marriage" over "civil union". I don't care if gays can get married or not. But, I 've long since not cared. The rest of the nation however, is not up to speed w/ my point of view. We went from the rarity of civil union (not w/out civil unrest itself) to directly seeking "marriage", and what seems like an all or nothing proposition. Despite what I believe, the reality that i have to face is that the majority of people in our country are not on the same page. I know it's weak,'s just where we're at.

It's just my opinion that sometimes progress goes a little slower than you like, but if you want to move forward with real strength, sometimes you have to go a little slower. Now, instead of this issue being viewed as primarily about civil rights (as in civil union and what that affords) it's now been able to become the wedge issue it is so quickly becoming. That forces people to take sides -going down that road of "with us or against us" mentality that is so popular these days- and I just don't see how that gets us anywhere any quicker. If anything, I fear it threatens to pull us back. As in the gay marriage ban amendment. So, it's not what's being asked for, it's how we're going about it.

Meanwhile, people are dying in Bush's war (gay and straight), jobs continue to be lost, people still are walking around w/out affordable healthcare if any at all, people are still going hungry, etc, etc. and I don't see how this will get any better unless we focus on getting in a new adminstration that seems more concerned about the public than they are about themselves and their selfish agendas.

And that's paraphrasing. My brother served, I'm guessing he didn't tell and they weren't going to ask him to leave (he was in during Iraq I) and he's still considered a second class citizen. I'm guessing he would be happier if he could feel that his job was secure if people knew he was gay than if he could get "married" over having a "civil union". I haven't asked, maybe I will...

i think it's a mistake to think that because, at this moment, most of the press and activity seems to be focused on same-sex marriage (sorry, i hate the word gay marriage, although I consider myself gay, "gay marriage" just sounds too darn happy!) --- anyhow, lots of folks are engaged in all sorts of equality fights for gay people, and the fact is that at this moment, because of the timing of certain court decisons, it would be wrong to miss this opportunity - same sex marriage. Also, these things work together - an advance in one area (employment, marriage rights, heralth care) would help advance other areas..... the fact that someone is gay will matter less and less in terms of the law and how individuals are dealt with. I say grab what we can when we can, and keep moving forward!

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Published on March 25, 2004 12:29 AM.

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