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"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" apprently about to end.
July 6, 2011 1:49 PM   Subscribe

In a brief two-page order, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the "don't ask, don't tell" policy must be lifted now that the Obama administration has concluded it's unconstitutional to treat gay Americans differently under the law.
posted by andreaazure (54 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
slow clap
posted by magstheaxe at 1:50 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Col Dave Lapan aka @DoDSpokesman's tweet from a few minutes ago: "#DADT ruling - DoD is studying the ruling w/DoJ; will comply w/ orders of the court; taking steps to inform the field of this order."
posted by andreaazure at 1:51 PM on July 6, 2011


Hrm. Ninth circuit. Let's see if this holds up.
posted by koeselitz at 1:54 PM on July 6, 2011


Probably one of those gay activist judge panels, amirite?
posted by odinsdream at 1:55 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


/me adds ex-marine grandfather's email address to spam filter
posted by nathancaswell at 1:55 PM on July 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


AT LAST.

Though is it too much to ask for more than a short order for a ruling as important and long awaited as this one?
posted by bearwife at 1:58 PM on July 6, 2011


Sweet!

The military's not for me, but excluding people because other folks are freaked out by their totally normal behavior is some bullshit, and I'm glad it's over.

I'm guessing that Obama's not going to appeal this, not least because I don't think he wants to win and US courts aren't for mooting shit.
posted by klangklangston at 2:03 PM on July 6, 2011


Two more hells open to gays, war and marriage! =D
posted by Eideteker at 2:03 PM on July 6, 2011 [15 favorites]


Text of the order [PDF].
posted by ericb at 2:04 PM on July 6, 2011


Okay, I admit I don't follow this issue as closely as I might if I were either gay or in the service. But for pete's sake, hasn't DADT been killed like half a dozen times in the last year or so? Why are people still having to go to court over it?

I mean what is the deal with this thing? It's like the Rasputin of bad policy.
posted by Naberius at 2:05 PM on July 6, 2011 [13 favorites]


Just last week: Pentagon Confirms New DADT Discharges.
posted by ericb at 2:07 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Congress repealed it, but (if I recall correctly) was dodgy about implementation and there were still folks under discharge or threat of discharge, and that's what this court order ends.
posted by klangklangston at 2:10 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sunday New York Times Editorial: Unfinished Business: ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
posted by ericb at 2:10 PM on July 6, 2011


Hrm. Ninth circuit. Let's see if this holds up.

They based the decision over the Obama administration stating that they believe the policy is unconstitutional and should no longer be enforced. What exactly is the Obama administration now going to argue? That it should be?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:10 PM on July 6, 2011


Okay, I admit I don't follow this issue as closely as I might if I were either gay or in the service. But for pete's sake, hasn't DADT been killed like half a dozen times in the last year or so? Why are people still having to go to court over it?
The "why" is quite simple:

It's easier to talk about change and let people believe in it than it is to actually change things.
posted by -1 at 2:12 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just last week: Pentagon Confirms New DADT Discharges.

Harper said that all four individuals discharged had made voluntary statements regarding their sexual orientation and had asked to be “separated expeditiously.”

So the servicemen and servicewomen cashed in their get-out-of-the-military-card while they still could?
posted by nathancaswell at 2:13 PM on July 6, 2011


Hrm. Ninth circuit. Let's see if this holds up.


OTOH, Reagan-appointee (and all-around awesome jurist) Alex Kozinski was part of the panel.
posted by gyc at 2:14 PM on July 6, 2011


Ninth circuit. Let's see if this holds up.

I'm really tired of this right-wing meme. Slate did a detailed analysis of this issue, and found that while a disproportionate number of Ninth Circuit rulings were overturned by the Court, an even higher proportion from the Third and Fifth Circuits were overturned. Out of 6,387 on-the-merits decisions in 2006, the Supreme Court reversed 18. That's less than 0.3 percent of their on-the-merits decisions (and, of course, an even smaller proportion of the total Ninth Circuit decisions).

The likelihood of any given Ninth Circuit decision being overturned is vanishingly small.
posted by grouse at 2:23 PM on July 6, 2011 [14 favorites]


So the servicemen and servicewomen cashed in their get-out-of-the-military-card while they still could?

Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network:

"These Air Force discharges underscore that DADT investigations and discharges continue. Unfortunately, SLDN has a client right now who was recently recommended for discharge at a board hearing, and his paperwork is headed to the Navy Secretary. He made no statement, and he wants to continue serving. We have another client who is having a board hearing later this week, and if this senior enlisted person is recommended for discharge, her paperwork will likely be before the Navy Secretary in short order. She, too, wants to continue serving. Let me be clear. At SLDN, we have scores of clients who have been advised they are under DADT investigations. Some of these clients have between 10 and 15 years of honorable service, few made voluntary statements, and none to my knowledge has asked to be ‘separated expeditiously.’ For these service members, especially, certification and final repeal cannot come soon enough. The continued stress of investigations and the risk of separation under DADT is real and very much imminent."[emph. mine - VS]
posted by VikingSword at 2:25 PM on July 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


Weird. Very misleading phrasing...
posted by nathancaswell at 2:28 PM on July 6, 2011


grouse: "I'm really tired of this right-wing meme."

It's not a 'right-wing meme' to say that the ninth circuit is a test court for a lot of cases, and that the supreme court picks up a disproportionate number of ninth-circuit cases. Frankly, I resent the implication. I didn't say ninth circuit decisions are not likely to stand. I implied that they are often controversial, which they are. The fact that you - and I, for the record - tend to agree with a lot of ninth circuits decisions - which, by the way, show neither a left or a right wing bias, but only a bias toward major political issues - doesn't change that fact.
posted by koeselitz at 2:36 PM on July 6, 2011


/me adds ex-marine grandfather's email address to spam filter

First off, if you care enough to talk about him, do it correctly.

Second, there are a LOT of us Devil Dogs out there that resent you attaching our name to the notion of homophobia.

Yes, we aren't perfect, but reinforcing the idea that Marines are homophobic will not help the Corps move ahead.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:39 PM on July 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


I apologize, koeselitz, it probably seemed like I was claiming you were some sort of right-winger, which I know is not true and was not my intent. However, I think there definitely is an unfounded meme that holds that Ninth Circuit decisions are automatically suspect and likely to be overturned. This is perpetuated by right-wing pundits, but also spread as "conventional wisdom" by people who do not consider the source or the veracity of this idea carefully. I'm happy to see that you did not mean to imply this.
posted by grouse at 2:45 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not to derail, but speaking of Marines, I read a few weeks ago and thought it was pretty awesome:

From ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ to ‘Don’t make me repeat this’

“Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution is pretty simple,” he told a group of Marines at a base in South Korea. “It says, ‘Raise an army.’ It says absolutely nothing about race, color, creed, sexual orientation.

“You all joined for a reason: to serve,” he continued. “To protect our nation, right?”

“Yes, sergeant major,” Marines replied.

“How dare we, then, exclude a group of people who want to do the same thing you do right now, something that is honorable and noble?” Sgt. Maj. Barrett continued, raising his voice just a notch. “Right?”

Sgt. Maj. Barrett then described conversations with U.K. troops, who saw a similar ban lifted a decade ago, with little disruption. And to drive the point home, he produced a pocket copy of the Constitution.

“Get over it,” he said. “We’re magnificent, we’re going to continue to be. … Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines.”

posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:49 PM on July 6, 2011 [24 favorites]


It's about time.
posted by zarq at 2:49 PM on July 6, 2011


that's not really my impression of marines.
posted by goethean at 2:50 PM on July 6, 2011


Hrm. Ninth circuit. Let's see if this holds up.

IANAL, but it's going to hold up because the administration isn't going to say "No, we want to keep DADT." They might say "We need more time," which the court granted them in months ago when it stayed an order to cease enforcing DADT immediately. The administration might be (politically, at least) out of cards here.
posted by rtha at 2:54 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


hal_c_on: " Second, there are a LOT of us Devil Dogs out there that resent you attaching our name to the notion of homophobia."

I resent the USMC's open support of homophobia: Why are the Marines the military's biggest backers of 'don't ask, don't tell'? The "notion" is real. It's an institutionalized problem. And frankly, as a natural-born US citizen, I don't give a fuck if any member of our armed forces resents me for pointing out that truth. If you don't like it, help change the policies. But don't pretend they don't exist.
posted by zarq at 2:57 PM on July 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


IANAL, but it's going to hold up because the administration isn't going to say "No, we want to keep DADT."

Well the homophobes don't really need to worry. In January of '13, as soon as the next Republican administration takes office, they'll reinstate a new version of DADT.

Or not- they may be too busy removing the right to an abortion to immediately target gays in the military. You can always hope.
posted by happyroach at 3:19 PM on July 6, 2011


There are a LOT of us Devil Dogs out there that resent you attaching our name to the notion of homophobia.

Yes, we aren't perfect, but reinforcing the idea that Marines are homophobic will not help the Corps move ahead.


I'm not doing any such shit, I'm talking about *my grandfather* (who I love dearly) who happens to be a Devil Dog, and happens to email me vaguely offensive cartoons whenever DADT comes up in politics. He did it last time the DADT repeal stories came up.
posted by nathancaswell at 3:26 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I resent the USMC's open support of homophobia:

Did you really just point me towards an OPINION article that supports your view.

Like I said, we have problems and we are WORKING ON IT! Continuing with the "Marines bad because they hate faggots" is like throwing gas on the fire.

Your article was rather dated, here's an piece from late June about the Marines in the WSJ.
“Get over it,” he said. “We’re magnificent, we’re going to continue to be. … Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines.”

So god damn magnificent that we even know about what problems we need to fix to move into perfection.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:26 PM on July 6, 2011


I'm not doing any such shit, I'm talking about *my grandfather* (who I love dearly) who happens to be a Devil Dog, and happens to email me vaguely offensive cartoons whenever DADT comes up in politics. He did it last time the DADT repeal stories came up.

Then why did you say "ex-marine"? Why did you not say plumber, retiree, ex-cop, married man of 45 years, baseball-loving, cheesecake making genius?

Don't get upset because I called you out. I don't think you did it purposefully, but what I am saying is that when you say that part of the reason your grandfather sends you those stories is because he is a Marine, some Marines get offended.

That's all. No other offense implied.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:30 PM on July 6, 2011


Then why did you say "ex-marine"?

Approximately 95% of my grandfather's identity at this point in his life stems from the fact that he's a former marine (there, I fixed the apparently offensive moniker "ex-marine"). His entire social life is centered around the Marine Corps League, Toys for Tots, etc. Calling him anything else would be pointless.
posted by nathancaswell at 3:37 PM on July 6, 2011


I love how the quote used as the lead for this post makes it sound like President Obama just decided it is unconstitutional to treat gays differently and the judiciary has just fallen in line, lockstep behind him as if to say, "You got it, boss!"

The AP should really be abolished. Or at least relegated to Onion-like cult status as a purveyor of hilarity.
posted by jph at 3:48 PM on July 6, 2011


Why yes Hal, I did post an opinion piece. Here's why:

"Tammy S. Schultz is director of national security and joint warfare at the U.S. Marine Corps War College."

She is uniquely suited to know. And last November is not "outdated" and you damned well know it. The fact that a few marines are publicly changing their tune is positive, yes. But for you to say you resent the "notion" that the Marines could possibly be homophobic, thereby calling into question the Corps history with DADT is ludicrous at best and goddamned insulting at worse.
posted by zarq at 3:52 PM on July 6, 2011


I resent the USMC's open support of homophobia

zarq, you should actually read that article you posted very closely, because it doesn't really support your conclusion.

As for the Corps in general, I know: gay Marines, straight Marines that don't have any problem with gay Marines. I have no doubt that the Marine Corps will do what they're told, which is their job.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:52 PM on July 6, 2011


They'll follow orders, yes. After being forced to. That's not the same as embracing tolerance. The Marines should have supported the change and not fought against it.
posted by zarq at 3:55 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The fact that a few marines are publicly changing their tune is positive, yes.

When one of those Marines is the Command Sergeant Major - the highest-ranking NCO and probably the second-most influential Marine after the Commandant - that's more than just "positive". That is laying the groundwork for the new policy.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:56 PM on July 6, 2011


Good. That doesn't negate my points.
posted by zarq at 3:59 PM on July 6, 2011


No branch of the service ever embraces change. The Marines are possibly the least likely to do so because their traditions are so entrenched (this is not always bad).

One advantage the Corps may have over the other branches is that they're the smallest, and I've always been under the impression (possibly inaccurate) that there's less - I don't know the word I'm looking for here, distance, maybe - between the top of the Corps and the grunts, and they are culturally more tightly knit than the Army (for instance). I'd be interested in seeing what differences there were in the various branches when orders to integrate came down.

I could be totally wrong here.
posted by rtha at 4:01 PM on July 6, 2011


They'll follow orders, yes. After being forced to.

Well, yes - that's exactly what the military does. If by "forced to", you mean "given orders" I guess. The military isn't responsible for making the laws. A few old guys who happen to be in command positions argued against changing the laws, but none of them said they wouldn't enforce the policy if it was changed. And it's the responsibility of the civilian government, not the military, to set that policy.

Good. That doesn't negate my points.

Well, as I see it, it does negate your points. Once the policy is changed - by this court order or by the completion of the legislative-driven process already in motion - I have no doubt that the Marines will be on the leading edge of enforcing the new policy. Even the officers who disagreed with the policy change. Even the Commandant. They might not like what they're doing, but they'll do it right and efficiently, because that's what they do.

I'm ex-Army. (We ex-Army guys don't have that same "ex-" issue that the Marines do.) I'm gay. I served over 20 years ago, before DADT. Some of my platoon knew I was gay, including my direct supervisor, even though I wasn't really out, but I served my term and was honorably discharged. I've worked a little bit with SLDN (mostly because my boyfriend joined the Navy, in a hilariously bad move). I probably have a bit more invested in this overall than you do - not to say you shouldn't be interested and concerned, of course. If you're looking for someone to blame, for why this policy has been around so long, you should be looking squarely at the civilian government, which is responsible for making these decisions. Period. You want to know why things are the way they are? Hint: it's not because of the Marine Commandant, it's because of civilians - the Clinton administration's unwillingness to fight the issue, when they buckled to the Republicans RIGHT AFTER TAKING OFFICE because they "couldn't spare the political capital".
posted by me & my monkey at 4:11 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Before the orders came down, did any of the top brass in the Corps speak out against DADT? I come from a family of Air Force veterans. Was barred from serving myself for health reasons. There were USAF servicemembers speaking out against DADT's discrimination in '09 and '10, but I don't know how high up in the hierarchy they were.

It would clearly have been possible for Marines to speak out against an unjust and, as the article I linked to points out, dishonorably discriminating regulation without being disloyal.

Believe me, I have a great deal of ire towards Clinton. But the "we were only following orders and our hands were tied" excuse is pure horseshit. They didn't have to defy orders to publicly support a repeal.
posted by zarq at 4:27 PM on July 6, 2011


zarq, the reason why there is such a very small number of service members being forced out due to DADT is because most commands have been supporting ALL of their troops, gay included, for quite a while. From my personal experience I think the main reason we still see some is because when a command is under IG or whatever other high level inspection, every detail has to be done by the book until the book changes.

I think everyone is doing a great job and it's a military cultural change for the better that really isn't new.
posted by snsranch at 5:12 PM on July 6, 2011


Yes, we aren't perfect, but reinforcing the idea that Marines are homophobic will not help the Corps move ahead.

"Helping the Corps move ahead" is not anyone else's responsibility. If Marines don't want to be thought of as homophobic, y'all can try to convince other Marines to be less homophobic. In the mean time, deal with the fact that people are going to talk about your imperfections.
posted by moss at 5:28 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Of course, even zarq's link showed 60% of Marines having no problem with lifting DADT. The support may vary between the branches, but it seems that no branch has a majority that is afraid of openly gay servicemembers.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:40 PM on July 6, 2011


No branch of the service ever embraces change.

Except for the truly fabulous branches.
posted by hippybear at 8:35 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am enlisting in the Marines this summer, and I probably won't ship out until six months after I sign the papers. DADT could conceivably be overturned by then. If so, I'll be in one of the first classes of this brave new era. Proud to be on the vanguard!

Not that kind of proud, but still, about fucking time.
posted by troll at 11:13 PM on July 6, 2011


Before the orders came down, did any of the top brass in the Corps speak out against DADT?

I don't think so. And sure, they could have, and that would have been better than not doing so. But it's not the military's job to decide this in any case. I doubt that the service chiefs were excited about racial integration, but when the order came down to make it happen, that's what they did.

My complaint with your statement is that you're talking about "the Marines" as if it's a monolithic entity. It's not, and as your own link points out, 60% of Marines are in favor of repealing DADT. Who's not? The old guys, and the leadership is mostly drawn from old guys. But I haven't seen the kind of positive response from the ranking NCOs of the Air Force or the Army that was shown in this thread from the ranking Marine NCO.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:10 AM on July 7, 2011


Change is hard, but inevitable.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:09 AM on July 7, 2011


Good. That doesn't negate my points.

The SMMC supporting change (initiated by the civilian government) doesn't change your point that they should support change? So... he's opposing it somehow?

They didn't have to defy orders to publicly support a repeal.

Yeah, it's always a good idea when the military gets involved in changing civilian politics.

So "the Marines" are homophobes as a group. Any given Marine is a homophobe whether they support change or not or do it publicly because the Marines as an outfit are homophobes so speaking as an individual, which would not be violating the chain of command, doesn't matter.
But if the Marines in total speak out against the civilian government and publicly countermand* policy - which would defy the chain of command that begins with civilian leadership - that is not defying orders because ... Magic!

(*"countermand" is the proper term for attempting to supersede an order with a contrary appeal. In this case the appeal would be to the civilian population, which is perfectly within the rights (within reason) of any individual service member but extremely dangerous in the aggregate or speaking as a military representative. And this gets more touchy the higher you go. McChrystal's comments in Rolling Stone were unbecoming an officer. He might be objectively right or wrong in what he said. We might subjectively agree or disagree with him. But you publicly criticize civilian leadership while wearing your rank and you should get your ass handed to you.)

All troops favor things that reduce tension and doesn't get them killed. Racial integration in the military was a reality in the U.S. until the civil war and after that it was Congress that created the official military policy of racial separation in 1869. And African Americans were mostly given non-combat duties.
Most troops back then though I suspect would have appreciated the extra manpower (particularly after seeing the 25th Corps occupy Richmond without breaking down).

Racial integration was held up until 1951 despite requests (proper requests through the chain of command not public opposition which encroaches on civilian politics) by General officers (Ridgeway comes to mind) for desegregation and the presidential order by Truman 4 years before.

Anecdotally most of the WWII veterans I've spoken to or read about were in favor of desegregation particularly when they considered who they were fighting.

Supporting this kind of integration is unquestionably the right thing to do. But political change cannot come - officially - from the military without some dangerous precedents no matter the opinion of the individuals.
I agree in general it's open to criticism. For example - why don't -more- Marines speak in favor of this?
But it is unfair to infer that none of them do informally or as civilians and it's a mistake to think the channels are such that they can, or should, do it officially without civilian leadership doing it first.

But this is the shit/sausage making they always have to go through. They study and study and "study" and then someone has had enough and gives the order. Then there's more study and some horse trading and eventually the right thing gets done.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:37 AM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Pentagon has ordered a halt to all separations of gay troops under “don’t ask, don’t tell” and will begin accepting applications from prospective recruits who identify themselves as homosexuals.
posted by EarBucket at 2:53 PM on July 8, 2011


'The Republican-led House made a last-minute effort Friday to undermine the administration’s policy allowing gays to serve openly in the military, sparking a heated debate over same-sex marriage as the Pentagon ordered the armed forces to begin admitting service members without regard to their sexual orientation.'

"As part of $650-billion defense spending bill approved by the House, Republicans, with help from some Democrats, pushed through amendments to block training funds for the new era in the U.S. military, which historically had banned gays from serving openly. The defense spending bill also would prohibit the use of federal funds to promote or recognize same-sex marriages."
posted by VikingSword at 5:53 PM on July 8, 2011


IANAL, but it's going to hold up because the administration isn't going to say "No, we want to keep DADT." They might say "We need more time," which the court granted them in months ago when it stayed an order to cease enforcing DADT immediately. The administration might be (politically, at least) out of cards here.

I was wrong.

posted by rtha at 10:50 PM on July 15, 2011


Aww. Dickbags.
posted by klangklangston at 11:09 PM on July 15, 2011


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