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Judge Rejects Military Policy Toward Gays
September 9, 2010 9:59 PM   Subscribe

Judge Rules "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Is Unconstitutional - Judge Virginia A. Phillips of Federal District Court struck down President Clinton's Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy in an opinion (Scribd) issued late Thursday, ruling on the constitutionality of a complaint brought by the Log Cabin Republicans (PDF). President Obama's Justice Department has until a September 23 deadline to submit objections to the court regarding Judge Phillips's permanent injunction, which is uncertain given Obama's previous support of his Department of Justice defending the legality of DADT, despite his opposition to DADT in principle.
posted by Blazecock Pileon (91 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
well, damn.

thank [god of falling objects] for that.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:02 PM on September 9, 2010


Look, Im not a lawyer.
Hell, I'm barely a sentient being at all.
But every couple of weeks some amazing court ruling in favor of Happy Mankind comes down the pike from some court somewhere, advancing the progress of our peoples only to be overturned later by some other court fulla' dicks somewhere.

Since it is almost bedtime, can one of you Matlock-inclined folks lull me to peaceful slumber with the promise that this one might be different?

Lie to me even.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:03 PM on September 9, 2010 [16 favorites]


Huh. it's kind of weird how the people fighting for gay rights in the courts now are republicans.
posted by delmoi at 10:09 PM on September 9, 2010 [15 favorites]


Since it is almost bedtime, can one of you Matlock-inclined folks lull me to peaceful slumber with the promise that this one might be different? Lie to me even.

Well, if you don't ask, I won't tell.
posted by fuq at 10:18 PM on September 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: "President Obama's Justice Department has until a September 23 deadline to submit objections to the court regarding Judge Phillips's permanent injunction, which is uncertain given Obama's previous support of his Department of Justice defending the legality of DADT, despite his opposition to DADT in principle. "

This is a little tough to parse. Let's see: Objections to the injunction against the anti-gay law are uncertain given Obama's support of defending the legality of said anti-gay law despite his unofficial opposition. But why are the objections uncertain? If the government's defended the law in the past, wouldn't they continue to do the same now? Or is it the injunction itself that's uncertain?

(Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't Justice Department lawyers required to defend the constitutionality of all federal laws, regardless of the president's policy positions?)
posted by Rhaomi at 10:20 PM on September 9, 2010


I'm all for gays being able to serve openly in the military, and am against DADT, but I'm not completely comfortable with the courts dictating to the military regarding who can and cannot serve in the military. If the military thinks that it's in the best interest of the country to be defended solely by one-armed blind soldiers, then they should be allowed to do so.
posted by gyc at 10:22 PM on September 9, 2010


Actually, I don't think gay people should be allowed in the military. Or straight people, or people of any other sexual orientation or lack thereof.

Signing up for the military has always sounded like a pretty harebrained idea to me and I always wished people, gay or no, would have the good common sense to be sensible cowards like myself, stay home and not have to take orders, march around, shoot anyone or be shot at.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:26 PM on September 9, 2010 [9 favorites]


(Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't Justice Department lawyers required to defend the constitutionality of all federal laws, regardless of the president's policy positions?)

I don't know how closely connected this example is, but in California the Governor and Attorney General do not appear to be required to defend the constitutionality of state law.
posted by vorpal bunny at 10:26 PM on September 9, 2010


gyc: Your blind, one-eyed soldier policy intrigues me. It might make things in this country just a little bit more interesting.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:29 PM on September 9, 2010


If the military thinks that it's in the best interest of the country to be defended solely by one-armed blind white soldiers, then they should be allowed to do so.

See the problem?
posted by Joe Beese at 10:30 PM on September 9, 2010 [21 favorites]


gyc: I'm all for gays being able to serve openly in the military, and am against DADT, but I'm not completely comfortable with the courts dictating to the military regarding who can and cannot serve in the military. If the military thinks that it's in the best interest of the country to be defended solely by one-armed blind soldiers, then they should be allowed to do so.

Thank God 200+ years of American history is against you on this one. Civilian oversight of the military is one of the few things I unabashedly think we* get right. It's not the only reason we don't have military coups and other powers that tend to run amok, but it's probably one of the major reason why we haven't.


* "we" as in me and my country, not me and my Metafilter

posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:30 PM on September 9, 2010 [41 favorites]


I'd love to hear comments on this from some of those guys that got out of the draft by claiming to be, and in some cases becoming, gay. I'm not trying to be funny or ironic. I really would like to hear what they think. My feelings are very mixed, because I remember how scary the draft was. I'm all for equality but, on the other hand, FTA!
posted by charlesminus at 10:31 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


If the military thinks that it's in the best interest of the country to be defended solely by one-armed blind soldiers, then they should be allowed to do so.

Bullshit!

The core principal of the US -- given by Cinncinatus and Washington -- is simple: The US Military is under civilian control. The Commander in Chief is not selected by a military board, like a general or an admiral, the Commander in Chief is elected of the people, by the people and for the people.

If the people demand that military wear tutus and do show tunes in combat, then that is what the US military must do. If the military disagrees with that, they are more than welcome to renounce their commissions and forgo their warrants. Because that judgement is not, and should never be, theirs to make. PERIOD.

They're here, they're queer, and they're willing to fight for our freedoms. FUCK anybody who can't cope with that. Not only do these denialist bastards not deserve to be called soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines or guardsmen, they don't deserve the term citizen.

This fucking fetish for the military needs to stop. They are a tool of the citizen, not the rulers thereof.
posted by eriko at 10:32 PM on September 9, 2010 [148 favorites]


I'm not completely comfortable with the courts dictating to the military regarding who can and cannot serve in the military. If the military thinks that it's in the best interest of the country to be defended solely by one-armed blind soldiers, then they should be allowed to do so.

Historically, the US federal courts have granted extreme deference to the executive branch in matters of national security, but it isn't absolute. The back and forth over detainee's rights is an example of this. But I want to emphasize that I said executive branch rather than military, since civilian command of the military is an important check against armed coups. Judicial oversight, even with deference, is part of that check. So take comfort! It's all part of the plan!
posted by Marty Marx at 10:36 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


*detainees' rights, of course.
posted by Marty Marx at 10:36 PM on September 9, 2010


I really would like to hear what they think.
I'd be very (genuinely!) curious about how the draft boards reacted.
posted by Marty Marx at 10:38 PM on September 9, 2010


Signing up for the military has always sounded like a pretty harebrained idea to me and I always wished people, gay or no, would have the good common sense to be sensible cowards like myself, stay home and not have to take orders, march around, shoot anyone or be shot at.

Haha, I are harebrained.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 10:43 PM on September 9, 2010 [4 favorites]



I'd be very (genuinely!) curious about how the draft boards reacted.

As I recall, the draft boards gave them Section 8 deferments, which is what they gave crazy people. The idea, I guess, being that gay people are crazy, and if the draftees weren't really gay, they would have to be crazy to claim to be gay. Of course that deferment stays with you for live.
posted by charlesminus at 10:47 PM on September 9, 2010


I would expect Obama to defend the law. First, as Chief Magistrate, his duty is to defend the law, while working to repeal it. It is hard to enforce only some of the laws. Second, he want's contro of the politics of this. Third, he wants orderly repeal. Finally, he wants this dealt with outside the glare of the election, where he can corral the votes in his own sweet time. Its passed the House--only needs Senate approval now.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:49 PM on September 9, 2010


if the people demand that military wear tutus and do show tunes in combat, then that is what the US military must do.

Thank you. I almost fell out of bed laughing imagining this scene.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:50 PM on September 9, 2010


Seriously. I see no tactical advantage to that, either.
posted by horsewithnoname at 11:11 PM on September 9, 2010


As I recall, the draft boards gave them Section 8 deferments, which is what they gave crazy people. The idea, I guess, being that gay people are crazy, and if the draftees weren't really gay, they would have to be crazy to claim to be gay. Of course that deferment stays with you for live.

Hmm, that's curious. Per Wikipedia, "in 1973 the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. The American Psychological Association Council of Representatives followed in 1975." The US discontinued the draft in 1973, just as that happened; I wonder what they would do today if a draft were declared and DADT was still in force? Can you section-8 someone for something that is no longer in the DSM?
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 11:15 PM on September 9, 2010


If the military thinks that it's in the best interest of the country to be defended solely by one-armed blind soldiers... then we are totally fucked.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:19 PM on September 9, 2010


In the Unintended Consequences department, if DADT is unconstitutional, does that mean they have to aggressively start finding and ejecting gay soldiers? The whole thing is sort of a big game of let's pretend, and it appears that this judge is telling them they can't pretend anymore. So does that mean they revert to their old position?

"Sorry, guys, you're not allowed to treat them even that well."
posted by Malor at 11:24 PM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


“It is hard to believe that a District Court-level judge in California knows more about what impacts military readiness than the service chiefs who are all on record saying the law on homosexuality in the military should not be changed,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative group.

Mr. Perkins apparently declined to provide persuasive credentials as to why I should give a damn about his opinions on military readiness, military service chiefs, the law, homosexuals, and the judicial system.

Gee, Tony, that's a LOT of words to say "ew, I don't like this story."
posted by desuetude at 11:33 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


If the military thinks that it's in the best interest of the country to be defended solely by one-armed blind soldiers, then they should be allowed to do so.

If the courts are the least batshitinsane of the three pillars, I'll go with the courts. Socially-progressive, Constitution-abiding Judges, Unite!
posted by five fresh fish at 11:43 PM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'd love to hear comments on this from some of those guys that got out of the draft by claiming to be, and in some cases becoming, gay. I'm not trying to be funny or ironic.

I'm not a guy, not gay and never been in the military, but I read Randy Shilts' last book, Conduct Unbecoming: Gays and Lesbians in the U.S. Military many years ago. The details are a little hazy, but I definitely remember an account of an African American gay male who was drafted (I think it was either WWII or Korea), and he told them he was gay. He was told he was lying and forced to join up and fight. He told them repeatedly over and over that he was gay and each time they accused him of lying. When the fighting was over, he ended up liking the military and wanted to stay and did for a number of years, but eventually, they kicked him out for being gay. This may have been precipitated by an injury or upcoming retirement, I can't remember the details clearly now. But the upshot was, when they wanted/needed his service, he was called a liar. When he needed them, they kicked him to the curb. I think either his first or last name was Percy. Sorry, I don't have a copy around to look this up. Maybe some other MeFite can clear up some of the finer points here.
posted by marsha56 at 12:02 AM on September 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


Second Amendment: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

"To bear arms" refers to military service, and the second amendment makes military service a right. Any law that restricts any person from military service without cause is a violation of the second amendment.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 12:17 AM on September 10, 2010


"To bear arms" refers to military service, and the second amendment makes military service a right.

That's certainly a unique reading of the second amendment.
posted by atrazine at 12:29 AM on September 10, 2010 [9 favorites]


I always assumed the second amendment was just an old-timey version of the "get your tickets to the gun show,check out my muscles" joke.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:53 AM on September 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's certainly a unique reading of the second amendment.

Not really. "U.S. citizens have the right to carry guns because *a military force* is necessary to defend the nation's freedoms"--that is, the people can't be kept from is a widely accepted interpretation of the Second Amendment. It's important to remember that the Second Amendment wasn't conjured out of thin air. In 1774, Great Britain took over and mostly revoked Massachusetts' laws--one of which gave colonists the right to arm themselves at a time when it was all but clear that the colonies were going to go to war against the increasingly oppressive British government. These men were armed for military action, and Great Britain took away those arms in order to render the colonial military impotent. After the war, the Framers created the Second Amendment in direct response to that situation.

So, not a unique reading, no.
posted by tzikeh at 1:24 AM on September 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


This is not remotely about the court dictating to the military. This is a court ruling about a law, and laws are written by Congress, not the military. As such, the court has jurisdiction. DADT is a law created by Congress, not a mere military regulation created by the military. If it were merely a regulation, then the POTUS could disappear that regulation out of existence.
posted by Goofyy at 2:40 AM on September 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


Anyone else see the connection between a Republican group pushing this now, and the upcoming election? Gay republicans must be the most self-hating group in history.
posted by rikschell at 2:55 AM on September 10, 2010


i was once in the military, and i gotta say, for every legitimately gay person kicked out, there'd be a straight service member submitting their "i'm gay" paperwork to get out of military service. it was like a get-out-of-jail-free card no matter what your sexual preference. if DADT is repealed, the only option left will be actual prison time.
posted by camdan at 3:52 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would look for Obama to study (i.e. delay) the issue until after the November elections for obvious reasons and take a stronger stand and perhaps propose legislation in favor of LGB (though won't mention T) serving in the military. This explanation regarding the discrepancy between the stated goal of the Obama administration and the actions of the Justice Department from 3/30 of this year:
"Tracy Schmaler, a Justice Department spokesman, reiterated the administration’s opposition to the don’t ask, don’t tell policy, and its goal of repealing “this discriminatory law.”
“In this case the Department is defending the statute, as it traditionally does when acts of Congress are challenged,” she said. “The Department does not pick and choose which federal laws it will defend based on any one Administration’s policy preferences.”
If you buy that.

"To bear arms" refers to military service, and the second amendment makes military service a right.
Huh, hadn't heard that before. The wiki says that it once was one usage but is considered controversial at best as it applies to the current interpretation of the Second Amendment. At any rate I think that "well regulated militia" means a militia that is well regulated by the State. You might get Scalia to go along with the "right to serve" definition though - if he found that interpretation convenient.
posted by vapidave at 3:58 AM on September 10, 2010


So, not a unique reading, no.

I was referring to the bit about the second amendment granting the right to serve in the military. The amendment says (to me anyway, this is not universally held) that because an armed militia is neccesary, the people have a right to keep and bear arms. It's sort of an odd amendment, because it's the only one that begins with a justification. Anyway, it doesn't say anything about there being a right to serve in that well-regulated militia.

I'm interested to see how this case will play out though.
posted by atrazine at 4:45 AM on September 10, 2010


Group W's where they put you if you may not be moral enough to join the army after committing your special crime, and there was all kinds of mean nasty ugly looking people on the bench there. Mother rapers. Father stabbers. Father rapers! Father rapers sitting right there on the bench next to me! And they was mean and nasty and ugly and horrible crime-type guys sitting on the bench next to me. And the meanest, ugliest, nastiest one, the meanest father raper of them all, was coming over to me and he was mean 'n' ugly 'n' nasty 'n' horrible and all kind of things and he sat down next to me and said, "Kid, whad'ya get?" I said, "I didn't get nothing, I had to pay $50 and pick up the garbage." He said, "What were you arrested for, kid?"
And I said, "Littering." And they all moved away from me on the bench there, and the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things, till I said, "And creating a nuisance." And they all came back, shook my hand, and we had a great time on the bench, talkin about crime, mother stabbing, father raping, all kinds of groovy things that we was talking about on the bench. And everything was fine, we was smoking cigarettes and all kinds of things . . . and I put down the pencil, and I turned over the piece of paper, and there, there on the other side, in the middle of the other side, away from everything else on the other side, in parentheses, capital letters, quotated, read the following words:

("KID, HAVE YOU REHABILITATED YOURSELF?")

I went over to the sargent, said, "Sargeant, you got a lot a damn gall to ask me if I've rehabilitated myself, I mean, I mean, I mean that just, I'm sittin' here on the bench, I mean I'm sittin here on the Group W bench 'cause you want to know if I'm moral enough join the army, burn women, kids, houses and villages after bein' a litterbug." He looked at me and said, "Kid, we don't like your kind, and we're gonna send you fingerprints off to Washington."


A little Alice's Restaurant seemed in order.

I'm tired of the reverence shown the military in every single corner of our culture. Oh I know, our boys, fighting and dying for freedom, and all that. And I have respect for most folks I know who served or still serve, although I know at least a couple of borderline psychopaths too. It's just like America, only more armed and more dangerous. And no doubt a necessity. But we're seeing the effects of 8 years of Bush and the Big Lie about terrorism used to justify a massive expansion of the militarized sectors of US society -- fuck, it's like a Latin American dictatorship sometimes, the extent to which civilians are willing to concede the miitary's right to self-governance. You could always count on this bullshit "in wartime" in the past, and ginning up pro-military sentiment is a classic strategy of the warmongering politician getting paid by the weapons industry.

The "war on terror" was a brilliant Machiavellian move, the more so that we made a completely unreasonable application of actual military force to what could only be a metaphorical "war" we cannot ever "win," ensuring the constant need for deference to the military, the slow inculcation of militarized culture (ever been through airport security?), the frog-in-boiling-water embedding of anxiety over exceedingly unlikely terrorist attacks at the heart of public discourse, you know the drill.

Somewhere along the way, the concepts of a society of laws, civil rights, and fundamental freedoms that entail taking risks and responsibilities have really been lost from the discourse of patriotism.

So much macho posturing, no wonder they're so afraid of having gays serve openly.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:07 AM on September 10, 2010 [12 favorites]


I wonder what they would do today if a draft were declared

I had always though that this was the number one reason we'd never see a draft again. Of course, I hadn't considered the way you can use an 'All Volunteer' army to conduct decade-long wars, since there isn't this national outcry as everyone gets caught up in the reality of their family members dying for it.
posted by mikelieman at 5:26 AM on September 10, 2010


So, Republican's brought about a complaint to an Anti-Gay law signed into effect by President Clinton, a democrat. And won.

Just thought this needed to be repeated for all the party kool-aid drinkers.
posted by rulethirty at 5:27 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wonder if the concern isn't this:

I've come to the conclusion that a lot of men are just as straight as loneliness, youth, and a bottle of beer will take them. There's a lot of American youth who are of the "I'm not gay, but ... " variety, and they're probably already having sex with each other left and right in the military. Hell, John Waters recently wrote about a gay porn filmmaker whose entire oeuvre was blowing marines from the nearby military base. He had no trouble finding them, and all he offered in exchange was beer and, of course, a blow job. You out actual, out homosexuals in the military? Well, the risks for orgies just skyrocket!

What's the cure? I suspect the Greeks had it right. Just start treating man on man love as something really rough, macho men do once in a while. Start running ads for the military with big, ripply muscled, broad chested shirtless men cleaning shotguns, or working in the motor pool. Make the motto "The marines: We fight hard -- we fuck hard."

I swear to god, the ranks of the US military will quadruple. And, fuck it, if I'm in a far-flung part of the world, risking my neck for democracy all day long, I'm gonna want to head to the canteen for a drag show, some poppers, and a really good deejay afterward. It's what I deserve!
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:33 AM on September 10, 2010 [26 favorites]


Marines! The Few, the Proud, and the Hard! (Department of the Navy, doncha know)

Navy! It's not just a job, it's a life style! (by PRAN Goofyy)
posted by Goofyy at 5:44 AM on September 10, 2010


They're here, they're queer, and they're willing to fight for our freedoms.

The American military has not fought for our freedoms in my lifetime, so if that's their motivation for service those queers that are here need to find an alternative to the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines. Instead of "don't ,don't tell," gay soldiers should come out and come home.
posted by layceepee at 5:44 AM on September 10, 2010


First, I'm surprised nobody has invoked Klinger from M*A*S*H. Second, what Astro Zombie said.

And third, there already is a weird fetishistic thing going on vis-a-vis the military, weaponry and civilians with too much testosterone. Tune in to one of the History Channel's programs on warfare and you hear manly voices extolling the virtues of weapons, bombs and other ordnance; they ooh and coo over devices of death as though describing a favorite set of ass beads instead of things designed to shred a human. The very fact that such programs are popular at all tells me that warfare will never, ever go away.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:55 AM on September 10, 2010 [2 favorites]



The powers that be are always a step or two ahead of us. They have already figured out that the acceptance of homosexuality is slowly seeping into the psyche of the general public.

While we are still thinking about D.A.D.T., they are focused on their ability to conduct wars. Not only now, but also in the future. SOMEDAY it will be necessary to return to subscription. And it won't work if every guy with half a brain chooses to flaunt his '"newly found'" gayness rather that face an armed and angry enemy three thousand miles away from home.
posted by notreally at 6:02 AM on September 10, 2010


I don't think conscription will ever return. Modern warfare is very technology intensive, even in the counter-insurgency fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan there is extensive use of drones, intensive training in urban warfare (for whatever that's worth). If a modern war goes on long enough to train up conscripts and is important enough to do so, then there'll either be nukes or negotiations to avert the use of nukes.
posted by atrazine at 6:08 AM on September 10, 2010



We had to resort to using the National Guard in Iraq. We had to hire a private civilian army. Think Blackwater and other security forces.
posted by notreally at 6:17 AM on September 10, 2010


What's the cure? I suspect the Greeks had it right. Just start treating man on man love as something really rough, macho men do once in a while. Start running ads for the military with big, ripply muscled, broad chested shirtless men cleaning shotguns, or working in the motor pool. Make the motto "The marines: We fight hard -- we fuck hard."

Actually, I think that sort of man-on-man love was considered disgraceful for the bottom in Greece, Sparta in particular... SPARTANS!!!!. Which is why man-on-boy love was considered more proper, even noble.

I think what you are arguing is a constitutional amendment:

the right of the people to keep and arm bears, shall not be infringed.
posted by ennui.bz at 6:23 AM on September 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


I expect the Obama administration to appeal this ruling, and I expect outcry about it from people who don't understand that the DoJ has an obligation to defend the constitutionality of all federal laws. If the President could choose to accept the ruling of a lower court that a law is unconstitutional, simply because he is opposed to the law, he would essentially be vetoing the law, when he only has the authority to veto bills. Otherwise, an incoming president could allow many of his predecessor's laws to be struck down in this way, against the will of Congress.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:48 AM on September 10, 2010


ennui.bz - what you talking about, bears? Astro Zombie didn't mention anything about how hairy the Marines in the ad would be.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:59 AM on September 10, 2010


Know a guy who was asked by a judge at a paternity hearing how he was named a possible daddy by a girl when he got draft deferment for his claiming to be gay (long time ago). He said, with nary a blink: a man can swing both ways.

But what happened to the polling the military was going to take to see how the troops felt about serving with gays. In "the old days" troops did not get to vote on anything. Is Obama waiting the polling results?
posted by Postroad at 7:09 AM on September 10, 2010


vapidave: " At any rate I think that "well regulated militia" means a militia that is well regulated by the State. You might get Scalia to go along with the "right to serve" definition though - if he found that interpretation convenient."

The Second Amendment was written in the context of military service - of a kind. Madison initially proposed the second amendment explicitly recognize conscientious objection, for example. Additionally, it was written in the context of a nation without a standing army that had declared independence at least in part because of the perceived slights received from the standing army of another state - the Second Amendment basically recognized the colonist's legal right to keep a rifle around in case they ever had to (temporarily) band together into a militia in order to fight somebody. Temporarily is the operative word there.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 7:18 AM on September 10, 2010


We had to resort to using the National Guard in Iraq. We had to hire a private civilian army. Think Blackwater and other security forces.

The National Guard is a volunteer, trained army. The civilian contracted forces were nominally voluntary and trained.

Notice the operative characteristic in both cases? Trained? It's exactly what you can't get out of a draft army.
posted by muddgirl at 7:30 AM on September 10, 2010


Notice the operative characteristic in both cases? Trained? It's exactly what you can't get out of a draft army.

Wait, what? Why do you think the first thing they did to draftees was send them to basic training?
posted by lordrunningclam at 7:39 AM on September 10, 2010


marsha56, you've almost described the experiences of hundreds of homosexual WAVES and WACS who bravely and patriotically served in WWII, only to be ousted without honorable discharge for their sexuality after the war was over. Except, of course, they were volunteers, and not draftees.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:42 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait, what? Why do you think the first thing they did to draftees was send them to basic training?

We teach them to follow orders and point a gun away from themselves. We don't teach them how to fly UAVs or repair helicopters. After boot camp, I believe all branches of the US military require individual or job-training that can last from two months to a year before they are really ready for deployment. So no, draftees are not adequately trained for modern combat, and in a draft situation there is not enough time to do so.
posted by muddgirl at 7:49 AM on September 10, 2010




The very fact that such programs are popular at all tells me that warfare will never, ever go away.

Of course not. For every guy who wants to gather mankind under one banner and strive for the common good into the future are 2 guys who like to fight and 27 guys who love watchin' fights. Curing any of the supposed ills that cause warfare will merely lead to more pathetic and blatant excuse-making, probably. In general, it seems we like to foment tomfoolery on a destructive level. Gay or straight.
posted by umberto at 8:08 AM on September 10, 2010


and I expect outcry about it from people who don't understand that the DoJ has an obligation to defend the constitutionality of all federal laws.

I'm kind of secretly loving the idea that the knee-jerk right-wing crowd who automatically are against anything that Obama supports are going to suddenly be providing a groundswell of support for the poor people being unfairly treated by this unjust policy.
posted by quin at 8:17 AM on September 10, 2010


if the people demand that military wear tutus and do show tunes in combat, then that is what the US military must do.

These show tunes, they are played on bagpipes?
posted by madajb at 8:24 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anyone else see the connection between a Republican group pushing this now, and the upcoming election? Gay republicans must be the most self-hating group in history.

I could be wrong about this, but between this and the conservative that helped fight Prop 8, there might be a group in the Republican Party actively trying to advance gay rights.
posted by drezdn at 8:32 AM on September 10, 2010


Its passed the House--only needs Senate approval now.

In that case, the courts are pretty much the only option for striking DADT down.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:48 AM on September 10, 2010


Astro Zombie,

I got your marines right here.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:33 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]




But what happened to the polling the military was going to take to see how the troops felt about serving with gays.

Final Response Rate on Pentagon's 'DADT' Survey is 27.5%
"Sunday [August 15, 2010] was the deadline for troops to complete the Defense Department's 'don't ask, don't tell' attitudes survey, and officials at the Pentagon said the final tally on completed responses was 109,883 -- a response rate of only about 27.5 percent.

That's below the 30 to 40 percent response rate researchers from the University of Texas at Austin say an average email or online surveys should pull in, and well below the 52 percent participation rate officials at the Office of Personnel Management got in their similarly-structured 2010 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.

The Pentagon's survey was designed to help military leaders 'assess the impacts, if any, repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' might have on military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention,' according to Department spokeswoman Cynthia Smith.

But from the start gay rights groups objected to the methodology and execution of the survey, and encouraged their supporters not to take part, which may have played a role in driving down the response rate.

Results from the survey -- including data on how many troops might feel uncomfortable working alongside an openly-gay colleague and how many may refuse to re-enlist if the law is repealed -- won't be released publicly until December, when Defense Secretary Robert Gates is expected to unveil plans to help ease the transition to a post-repeal force.

Meanwhile, later this month the Pentagon plans on mailing out another 150,000 surveys to military spouses (70,000 active duty spouses, 80,000 reservist spouses) asking their feelings on a 'don't ask, don't tell' repeal. That survey will be due back in late September."
Survey of Spouses:
"The Pentagon has sent out the second part to its military survey on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", this time to approximately 150,000 military spouses, and it shows much of the same insensitivity that the first survey did."
posted by ericb at 9:49 AM on September 10, 2010




But from the start gay rights groups objected to the methodology and execution of the survey, and encouraged their supporters not to take part, which may have played a role in driving down the response rate.

Isn't that cutting off your nose to spite your face? Wouldn't it have been better to encourage supporters to take the survey?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:55 AM on September 10, 2010


Pentagon to Meet with Gay Military Partners for First Time
“The Pentagon's Comprehensive Review Working Group on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' will meet with a group of lesbian and gay military partners, Servicemembers United reports. The meeting will take place in conjunction with Servicemembers United's Military Partners Forum on September 16, 2010.

‘The meeting will be a first of its kind for both the Pentagon and for the military partner community. The Campaign for Military Partners was launched by Servicemembers United in 2009 to reach out to, recognize, connect, and support the partners of LGBT military personnel. The online hub for this initiative, www.MilitaryPartners.org, was launched in the spring of 2010. Servicemembers United will be hosting the first ever Military Partners Forum in Washington, DC on September 16, 2010 in conjunction with its fall ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ Lobby Day.”
posted by ericb at 9:58 AM on September 10, 2010


Isn't that cutting off your nose to spite your face? Wouldn't it have been better to encourage supporters to take the survey?

July 10, 2010:
"The survey, part of what the military says is its effort to prepare for the possible integration of gays and lesbians into the armed forces, provoked immediate criticism from some human rights groups, which called the survey biased and apt to fan fears of gays in the military.

The unauthorized public disclosure of the $4.5 million survey and the fierce reaction to it also prompted the Pentagon to worry that the fallout could skew the results of the poll.

... The Pentagon had tried to keep the survey questions a secret, saying that public disclosure could influence the outcome of the polling, which is scheduled to continue until Aug. 15.

... Several gay rights groups, however, said the survey was biased. In particular, they said the wording of the questions reinforced prejudices and fanned fears that troops would be forced to bathe, room or socialize with gays and lesbians.

Servicemembers United, the nation's largest group of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, said the survey includes ‘derogatory and insulting wording, assumptions, and insinuations.’

‘The Defense Department just shot itself in the foot by releasing such a flawed survey to 400,000 servicemembers, and it did so at an outrageous cost to taxpayers,’ said Alexander Nicholson, the group's executive director.

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a nonpartisan legal services group providing counsel to troops discharged under the policy, said the survey's design could yield skewed results.

‘Surveying the troops is unprecedented; it did not happen in 1948 when President Truman ended segregation, and it did not happen in 1976 when the service academies opened to women,’ SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis said. ‘Even when the military placed women on ships at sea, the Pentagon did not turn to a survey on how to bring about that cultural change.’

The Human Rights Campaign, one of the nation's largest gay rights groups, provided tepid support for the survey.

‘While surveying the troops on an issue like this is problematic from the start and the questions exhibit clear bias, the fact remains that this study exists,’ said HRC spokesman Michael Cole. ‘We urge the department to analyze the results with an understanding of the inherent bias in the questions and use it as a tool to implement open service quickly and smoothly.’"
posted by ericb at 10:09 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't it have been better to encourage supporters to take the survey?

I think it was very responsible for, say, LAMBDA to encourage service-members not to answer survey questions that relate to homosexuality, since they or their colleagues could be discharged for doing so. I'm not a lawyer, but here is just one question I find immediately problematic:
In your career, have you ever worked in a unit with a subordinate you believed to be homosexual?
There's actually like 5 pages of questions along the same vein, essentially asking "have you any any of your colleagues broken the law?"
posted by muddgirl at 10:14 AM on September 10, 2010


Letter to the WaPo Editor:
"Why ask military spouses about 'don't ask, don't tell'?

“I got angry reading the Aug. 24 news story 'Pentagon surveys military spouses on 'don't ask, don't tell''. I was reminded that the Pentagon simply meant to collect information to better educate troops and family members when the unjust ban is lifted. So why was I still so infuriated reading the survey questions?

As a test, I replaced the words ‘gay and lesbian’ with ‘black and Latino.’ ‘If a black or Latino Service member lived in your neighborhood . . . would you stay on-base or would you try to move out?’ And, ‘Would the attendance of a black or Latino Service member . . . affect how often you attend these types of military social events?’

These questions would never be asked because they serve to legitimize ignorance and prejudice. If I asked these questions -- for any reason -- in the discharge of my responsibilities as chairman of the Arlington County Board, I would rightly be rebuked.

Did Harry Truman ask similar questions as he allowed black men to serve equally in the U.S. military? No, he simply did the right thing, and so should we.”

-- Jay Fisette, Arlington
posted by ericb at 10:16 AM on September 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


WaPo letter link.
posted by ericb at 10:17 AM on September 10, 2010


I expect outcry about it from people who don't understand that the DoJ has an obligation to defend the constitutionality of all federal laws

I understand this completely. However, I also recognize that, historically, the DoJ has picked and chosen which federal laws to defend and that its conduct is not always automatic as the above statement implies. Courses of action are set often at the behest of the sitting President, at other times out of political expedience.

The most recent demonstration of this selectivity was when Obama's Department of Justice decided not to pursue a criminal case against Alberto Gonzales for firing US attorneys who did not sympathize with the Bush administration's politics. Gonzales argued that federal attorneys serve "at the pleasure of the President", and evidently President Obama liked that executive policy enough to keep it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:23 AM on September 10, 2010


There's actually like 5 pages of questions along the same vein...

Actually 32-pages.

Here's the "2010 DoD Comprehensive Review Survey of Uniformed Active Duty and Reserve Service Members" [PDF].

Previous FPP on the survey.
posted by ericb at 10:28 AM on September 10, 2010


Truman did survey the military regarding integration. Only 7% wanted to fully integrate and the survey exposed some really terrible attitudes about a variety of minorities. But yeah, he did it anyway.

Congratulations Obama your DADT Survey is Just as Offensive as Truman's was 65 years ago! (Queerty)
posted by Craig at 10:37 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Clearly, this judge is a gay man and therefore biased.
posted by Eideteker at 11:00 AM on September 10, 2010


So, Republican's brought about a complaint to an Anti-Gay law signed into effect by President Clinton, a democrat. And won.

You've have to be doing more than drinking Kool-Aid to not see that homophobia is not a partisan issue, it's common on both sides of the aisle. The perception that Democrats are pro-gay is only relative -- certain Republicans are willing to align themselves with virulent outspoken hatred and open bigotry, while Democrats tend to support gay rights in principle but back away nervously for fears about their own electability. Because this country is still a pretty homophobic place, even if it's expressed more politely than it once was. (I'll still take the principle over the twisted hatred, thanks.)

So. A gay Republican group challenged the legality of fatally-flawed compromise signed into law by a centrist Democrat 17 years ago, which was intended to at least decriminalize the status quo (i.e. the thousands of gays and lesbians who were already serving in the military.)

Not much of a gotcha! there, really.
posted by desuetude at 11:05 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thinking harder, I wonder if they don't fear something like Bear Force One.

Hoo hah.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:34 AM on September 10, 2010


I'm not completely comfortable with the courts dictating to the military regarding who can and cannot serve in the military

Luckily for you, that's not what's going on at all, since the military itself doesn't get to make that decision whatsoever.

Article I grants Congress the power to institute the armed forces. Congress creates the UCMJ, Congress decides who is fit to serve, and Congress passed DADT. The military hierarchy has almost no say unless (as in the recent defense spending authorization rider eliminating DADT) Congress predicates its decision on a certification from the Sec'y of Defense.
posted by thesmophoron at 11:49 AM on September 10, 2010


what happened to the polling the military was going to take

Oh, now that DADT has been struck down, you can bet the military will be taking a whole lot of "polling."
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:58 PM on September 10, 2010


Actually 32-pages.

Content aside -- and I know the members of the Armed Forces tend to be far less lazy than I am -- did they really expect a thirty-two page survey to get a 52% response rate?
posted by dirigibleman at 1:12 PM on September 10, 2010


Clearly, this judge is a gay man and therefore biased.

Judge Virginia Phillips is a woman, so she's likely a lesbian and therefore biased.
posted by ericb at 1:19 PM on September 10, 2010


... did they really expect a thirty-two page survey to get a 52% response rate?

To be fair it was an online survey [PDF] with basically 2 - 3 'check-off' questions per page.
posted by ericb at 1:25 PM on September 10, 2010


That's certainly a unique reading of the second amendment.

Only in modern times.

I suspect that the Supreme Court justice who claims a direct psychic link to the Founders will discover that they were using the words in the modern sense.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:08 PM on September 10, 2010


The Pentagon has sent out the second part to its military survey on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", this time to approximately 150,000 military spouses...

Huh? Why the fuck does it matter one bit what spouses think?

I'm from a military family, and I am very aware that there are aspects of military life that have a major effect on one's spouse and kids, but I really fail to see how this is one of them. Spouses' opinions here seem entirely irrelevant. (Whereas the opinions of servicemembers themselves seem just almost entirely irrelevant - I agree with the LTE above* that points out that we wouldn't stand for any such nonsense if it were race-based. The only rationale I can think of is that the word in DC is that the surveys don't determine whether DADT ends, they just help the military come up with ideas about how to have a streamlined and effective integration process).

*Side note: the author of that LTE is an openly gay member of the Arlington County Board (and a generally decent guy). Arlington also has an openly gay school board member and an openly gay delegate to the Virginia General Assembly. Go People's Republic of Arlington!
posted by naoko at 2:32 PM on September 10, 2010


WTF? A thread on gays in the military has tutus, show tunes, drag shows, poppers, and deejays tossed around willy-nilly? Feed into stereotypes much? And by posters I generally respect?

Stay classy, Metafilter
posted by hippybear at 2:56 PM on September 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


White House Responds to Ruling on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
"The Justice Department is studying the decision, including the question of its scope and immediate effect and we expect them to announce their next steps after that review is completed. The President remains committed to legislative repeal of DADT, and he will continue to work with lawmakers to achieve that goal this fall. And he will continue to work closely with Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff on an ongoing study of how to best implement the repeal."
posted by ericb at 4:13 PM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just wanted to drop this off in reference to the questions earlier about young men claiming to be gay to get out of the draft... the Draft Dodger's Rag: "I'm only eighteen, I've got a ruptured spleen, and I always carry a purse." Good listening anytime, actually.
posted by jokeefe at 4:33 PM on September 11, 2010


Another DADT Trial Begins on Tuesday.
posted by ericb at 8:42 AM on September 13, 2010


naoko: Huh? Why the fuck does it matter one bit what spouses think?

My thoughts exactly.

Though as someone who has seen too many politician's and religious leader's wives stand by their man when he was caught/ rumored to have engaged in homosexual behavior, my initial reaction was that 'if you're worried about your spouse working in close quarters with gays and lesbians, your marriage has problems that the armed services probably can't solve, no matter how many billions of dollars we give them.'
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:18 AM on September 13, 2010


(I'm so glad I live a life where I can be proud of my gayness, so that it can try to balance out the shame of my two apostrophe errors above.

'To lose [misplace] one parent [apostrophe] may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose [misplace] both looks like carelessness.')
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:26 AM on September 13, 2010




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