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Repeal of DADT Must Happen

In a Senate vote that was devoid of a single Republican supporter, a bid to open debate on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the controversial military policy preventing openly LGBT men and women from serving in the armed forces, was struck down. A terrible blow to the crusade for equal civil rights, a bipartisan group of senators have pledged to bring the issue up again before the coming recess in a separate piece of legislation. But it may well not be enough as the break looms.

Activists have since planned a rally near the Capitol building at noon today to appeal to lawmakers to put a hold on the recess, to work through the winter break, to come to agreement and get the repeal completed. “The Senate and the president must remain in session and in Washington to find another path for repeal to get done in the lame-duck,” a group called the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network announced.

“Today leaders of both parties let down the U.S. military and the American people,” said Joe Solmonese, the figurehead for the crusading civil rights group Human Rights Campaign. He lambasted the vote, calling the senators guilty of “…shameful schoolyard spats that put petty partisan politics above the needs of our women and men in uniform.” He went on to express a need to continue fighting even in the coming lame-duck session, saying that the fight was “not over.”

Even President Obama, who had been curiously quiet on the issue which seemed of convicted importance during his presidential campaign, finally spoke out after the vote, calling the outcome “disappointing,” and saying the discriminatory policy “weakens our national security, diminishes our military readiness, and violates fundamental American principles of fairness, integrity and equality.”

With the court system finding the policy fundamentally unconstitutional, public and military leadership support for the repeal at an all-time high, and the release of a military study demonstrating the overall acceptance of LGBT service-members amongst soldiers, it seems odd that the policy is having such a difficult time getting proper senatorial consideration. Some, including Mr. Solmonese, have called upon the President to issue an executive stop-loss to prevent any military discharges under the policy until repeal can be enacted.

Whatever the proper direction and however it is accomplished, I feel it is of utmost importance to American idealism and the civil protections we claim to embody that this despicable policy be done away with. Any credibility we may try to lay claim to regarding civil rights and equality would be hollow if we continue to belay the revocation of military discrimination, especially at the hands of nothing to give credence to its persistence. Discrimination, in all its forms, should be banished form all governmental practices.

Otherwise, we are all amongst the condemned.

About healeyb

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Same old same old, Bryan. “With the court system finding the policy fundamentally unconstitutional,” you write, “public and military leadership support for the repeal at an all-time high, and the release of a military study demonstrating the overall acceptance of LGBT service-members amongst soldiers, it seems odd that the policy is having such a difficult time getting proper senatorial consideration.”

    Odd? There’s nothing odd about it. As I keep reiterating on these threads, the U.S. Senate is not a representative body. It does not reflect public sentiment. It’s concerned not with constitutionality, but with electoral politics. In such a partisan setting, repeal of DADT is DOA.

    I agree with everything else you say, Bryan. But your continuing naiveté on this issue is … well, odd. There are lofty principles and then there is Realpolitik. To focus as you do on the former without due regard for the latter is willfully myopic.

  • http://www.bryanhealey.com Bryan

    Alan, you confuse my idealistic public plea with my privately held pragmatism. I am aware that the Senate is wholly unlikely to do anything about DADT, or any other matter of importance to LGBT civil rights. I have zero faith in the political system of today and hold through most of my waking day a general sense of annoyed pessimism about the state of the nation.

    When I write, however, my idealism possesses me, perhaps out of a belief that maybe someone is reading what I’m writing and might care. I don’t know why…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Bryan, I’ve read everything you’ve written for BC’s politics section, and I do care. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be commenting. But your schizophrenic stance, claiming to believe one thing privately while you champion the opposite publicly, is a betrayal of the reader’s trust. Perhaps you think such this two-faced approach is clever, but I find it only deceitful.

  • http://www.bryanhealey.com Bryan

    I think I may be misrepresenting myself. I do believe everything that I write, whole-heartedly and completely. No cleverness intended. I was taking issue purely with your claim to my naivety; I want so desperately for change, and I want DADT gone, and I will make a plea for it in earnest, but the “schizophrenic stance” you mention is merely that I am aware, in the back of my mind, that it is unlikely to make a difference.

    Call it what you will, but I don’t see the two stances as opposing each other or in any way a betrayal of trust. The only change between the piece you read and what is in my mind is the omission of the trailing sentence where I basically depress the piece by arguing that I have no faith in the ability for the Senate to do what is right. And I only do that in the quest of incubated optimism.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    “Incubated optimism.” Great turn of phrase. Thanks for your thoughtful reply as always. And please maintain your ideals regardless of what some old curmudgeon might say.

  • http://www.bryanhealey.com Bryan

    I don’t find you at all an old curmudgeon, and in fact have found your comments to be starkly realistic and insightful.

    As for my ideals, I think it is often a failing of mine to shuffle between the battle over my wanting to crusade for change and believe in others and my observed reality that nothing is likely to happen and that most people don’t deserve my belief.

  • Cannonshop

    The Problem remains-and it’s the same problem that the Clinton Administration was trying to solve when they championed DADT in the nineties in the first-place. DADT exists because the Congress wrote the UCMJ in such a manner that it’s a five year prison term for what it defines as Sodomy-which basically comes down to anything NOT missionary-position-vanilla between a man and a woman whom are married.

    Until the Regulation that DADT was supposed to slip around is fixed, its institution, or repeal, will not do what idealists in the nineties or the 2000′s think it’s supposed to do-which is to allow gay and lesbian personnel to serve out their terms without fear of being harassed or blackmailed because of their sexual orientation.

    The fact that the policy has failed significantly to do what its champions (and original critics) sought to do…well…

    it really IS the fault of Congress, and the only remedy that will fix it…requires an act of Congress.

  • Arch Conservative

    “You don’t have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight.”

    If that sentiment was good enough for Barry Goldwater, it should be good enough for the rest of us.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Alan, you are aware that the Republicans voted against the DADT repeal not on the issue itself but because they have all agreed not to support any Democrat initiatives until the Democrat tax increase is put to rest.

    Plenty of Republicans will vote for DADT once Democrats stop holding taxpayers hostage.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Dream on, Dave.

  • Arch Conservative

    “Plenty of Republicans will vote for DADT once Democrats stop holding taxpayers hostage.”

    Even I don’t buy that one.