After two failed attempts this year to repeal the policy, the third time proved to be the charm for Congress. The bill passed the House this week in a 250-175 vote, and cleared a final Senate hurdle earlier Saturday in a 63-33 vote, clearing the way for final passage.
R’s voting in favor
Biggert — Bono Mack — Campbell — Cao — Castle — Dent — Diaz-Balart, L — Djou — Dreier — Ehlers — Flake — Paul — Platts — Reichert — Ros-Lehtinen
WaPo – By Ernesto Londono
KABUL – The gay Army lieutenant’s heart had been racing all night.
Shuffling between meetings at his outpost in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday night, the 27-year-old officer kept popping his head into the main office to catch a glimpse of Fox News’s coverage of the Senate debate that led to a vote lifting the ban on gay men and lesbians serving in the military openly.
“Don’t cry,” a 21-year-old specialist, one of the lieutenant’s confidants, told his boss jokingly when news broke that 65 senators had voted to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.” “I’m completely numb,” was all the lieutenant could mutter.
Across the world, other gay troops whose lives, careers and relationships have been indelibly, if sometimes quietly, shaped by the ban reacted to the news with a mixture of rapture and disbelief. Many had seethed for weeks as the political debate over the repeal became laden with sexual innuendo and suggestions that openly gay soldiers on the front lines might become life-threatening distractions.
“I was flipping out,” the lieutenant said Saturday night, speaking by phone. “This turned into a [expletive] political fight. We were caught in the middle of it. But the people who it affects the most couldn’t do anything about it. We felt used.”
The stakes were also high for the specialist. His brother is gay and had vowed to join the Air Force if the policy were repealed this year. Their father is also gay, which made attending military events somewhat awkward for the family. “It just made for a weird situation,” he said.
As the debate intensified in recent months, several service members became emboldened. Many began voicing their positions bluntly and openly through outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.
This summer, active-duty gay troops started an underground lobbying group called Out Serve. Members joined by word of mouth, forming chapters across the country, in war zones and in other countries with large U.S. military contingents. They called key senators thought to be on the fence, telling them of the toll the policy had taken on their careers and personal lives.
“We are hoping to get this issue taken care of ASAP,” the chapter president of troops stationed in Germany, a 26-year-old Air Force staff sergeant, said in an interview the night before the vote. “We do not want to run out of time with this Congress. We believe this will be a very hard issue to sell to the next Congress.”
Some had become all but hopeless. “I honestly have closed myself off to relationships, because they were either closeted relationships or there was just too much to hide,” said a 26-year-old helicopter mechanic who recently completed a tour in Afghanistan. A 31-year-old Army medic deployed in western Iraq said the policy has hurt his career.
“DADT has made me afraid to report discrimination,” the specialist said in an interview over instant messaging. “I feel that I’m passed over [for promotion] because I am gay.” Cautiously optimistic, the Air Force staff sergeant and a dozen of his gay comrades headed out Saturday night to the Yours Australian Bar, a pub in Frankfurt.
Struggling to hear over the din of bar chatter, rock music and a soccer match, they monitored the hearing on C-SPAN and CNN using iPhones. When the news broke, they roared.
“We cheered like the Germans do for a win during a soccer match,” the staff sergeant said from the bar, using instant messaging to communicate from his cellphone. The other patrons looked bemused as the soldiers toasted the news while they ate burgers and drank Foster’s beer.
Gay service members interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity because the “don’t ask” policy will remain in effect until President Obama signs the bill.
For some, the news was bittersweet. That was the case for a 28-year-old West Point Army captain who resigned from active duty this spring after wrestling for years with deprivation, loneliness and half-truths. His boyfriend was sitting next to him.
“Oh God, oh God,” the decorated captain, who served two tours in Iraq, said by phone from Dallas as the vote neared. “My heart was thumping.” Text messages began pouring in as soon as the tally was announced. “So when are you back on active duty?” wrote a straight intelligence officer who served with him in Iraq in 2009.
“LOL. I dunno,” the captain responded. “Let me know so I can get stationed there,” the intelligence officer wrote back. “I work with a lot of morons. It’d be nice to have a battle [buddy] with some common sense and discipline again.”
Some service members wondered how the military will implement the repeal and how straight troops will react to the change, particularly in combat units, which tend to be more conservative.
“The majority of younger, rank-and-file guys will be fine with it,” said Marine Capt. Tom Garnett, who is straight and a reservist at a Virginia law school. “But we are a conservative service, and one angry Marine makes a lot more noise than 30 ambivalent Marines.”
At the outpost in eastern Afghanistan, the lieutenant appeared undisturbed about not having all the answers right away as he and the specialist sat in the outpost’s tactical operations center.
“I have no idea how the process is going to be,” he said. “But we know what the end state is. There’s not a whole lot of ambiguity.”
Townhall – By Doug Giles
I can understand why homosexual men would want to join the military. Number one: It’s Dude Central. Number two: The military lends itself to the gays’ fastidiousness over everything being orderly because everyone, from top to bottom, is required to keep their clothes, boots, room and gear nice, neat and shiny.
But, the third—and probably most important reason why I’m guessing that homosexuals would want to join our armed forces—is that they get to kill al-Qaeda and their murderous Muslim ilk.
I get that. And I appreciate it because if Muslims had it their way you cats would be extinct. As in the first to go. As in Sharia don’t like you. Geez Louise, you think Christians are a problem? Heck, we’re plain peachy compared to Achmed and his mob. If you think I’m wrong, please note that Adam Lambert’s GlamNation Tour didn’t have any stops in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, northern Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia or Yemen. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
In regard to why lesbians join the military, this is also an easy one: no heels, no makeup, no chatty chicks on cell phones, you can cart a few extra pounds without being shamed into looking like Lindsay Lohan by Michelle Obama, and … you get to blow crap up and wear camo. I can empathize.
No doubt patriotism is a major reason why some homosexuals would want to serve because they’re shrewd and they get that America, with all its foibles, is still the place to be. Yes, you don’t hear much about the Mexican Dream, or the French Dream, or the Slovakian Dream, but we still hear the American Dream touted, and I’m sure that protecting this status is the reason why most gays want to .50cal the idiots who hate us all to an early hell.
But here’s my beef with homosexuals: Do you really have to be flamboyant about your gayness every place you go? Can’t there be one sector of our society where you dial down with your sexual bent, say, for the greater good? Huh? We get it. You’re here. You’re queer. You’re loud, and you’re proud. Yippee. Now, we have a war to win.
FYI to the G-A-Ys, the vast majority of men and women in our sacred military, however, are not gay, and they’ve got a deadly serious mission to carry out that doesn’t need the added distraction of your desire to strut that you’re gay. Matter of fact, I’m a guessin’ that if you don’t chill out on this issue there will be a mass exodus of straight troops from our armed forces.
Yep, if I were gay and in the service, I wouldn’t be distracting the multitudinous heterosexual troops who are kicking ass abroad or at home because, as stated, with this perennial enemy named Islam, you guys will be the first to be purged from the earth if they ever have it Mohamed’s way.
Related Reference Link (Air University): Military Law – Military Justice
American Thinker – By Michael Filozof
…What will be the effect of the end of DADT? The short-term effects will probably be minimal. The military won’t be overrun by homosexuals anytime soon. It’s unlikely that very many gays, who constitute a tiny fraction of the population, want to serve in the military anyway. But the cultural shift in the military will be dramatic.
The military will be forced to deal with issues like anti-gay discrimination (real or imagined), how to deal with transsexuals, gay marriage, and benefits for gay partners. There will be gay affirmative-action quotas, gay cliques and subcultures, and you can be sure that in the future, there’ll be some gay equivalent of the “Tailhook” scandal. A military that is in the process of losing it’s second decade-long war in Asia to ragtag insurgents needs none of this. But the military, with its “can-do” ethos, will deal with it.
The consequences for cultural conservatism are much more acute, though. Repeal of DADT means that homosexuality will officially no longer constitute “conduct unbecoming” of a professional soldier. This amounts to a de facto sanction of homosexuality as normal and acceptable.
With the repeal of DADT, cultural conservatives will no longer control any institutions in American society. The military, the last bastion of cultural conservatism to which Americans rallied en masse after 9/11, has now been conscripted by the Left. The military is the final institution to fall in what Roger Kimball described as the “Long March” of cultural Leftism through America’s institutions that began in the Sixties. The academy, the churches, the courts and the government have long since fallen.
In the 30 years since the election of Reagan, cultural conservatives have failed to overturn Roe v. Wade, suppress pornography, stop gay marriage, or make a serious dent in the use of illegal drugs. Conservative activist Paul Weyrich noted that Clinton’s high public approval rating in the wake of the Lewinsky sex scandal meant that a “Moral Majority” no longer existed in the U.S.
Polls indicating overwhelming public support for ending DADT reaffirm that Weyrich’s observation was surely correct.
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