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Is This Really A Win For Gay Rights?

I like Deb Price, but her current commentary entitled, “Pentagon thaws on banning open gays,” strikes me as her, and so many other LGBT people and allies, as rejoicing for winning a tragic “victory.”  By repealing DADT, it is viewed that Congress, and the American people in general, are becoming more accepting of gay and lesbian people.  I certainly don’t see it that way!

In a time of an unjust war that has helped fuel largely world-wide contempt for us and our military policies; when the military is stretched so thin that it is at a breaking point; when a Draft is not politically possible, given the fact that the Administration fully knows that if there was a Draft there would be hundreds of thousands, if not more, very angry people marching on Washington demanding an end to this unjust war; given the fact that ex-felons have been necessary recruits to shore up a weakened military stretched to a breaking point, given its involvement in the war in Iraq, as well as the military involvement we have in other parts of the world, now Gay people are being considered to be further potential cannon fodder to the political-military machine.  So, the priority of Congress and the Military has been to favor convicted criminals to join the military rather than allow openly Gay people to join, and make the military a career, if they so chose.

As Deb Price wrote in her commentary: “On July 31, the Republican Collins, hinting she’s open to repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, framed her question during Mullen’s confirmation hearing in terms of a military so ‘strained’ that deployments are longer, convicted criminals are recruited, and linguists are in short supply.”

So, the message really is the following: “We need more bodies.  We can’t institute a Draft because there will then be such mass revulsion directed against us that we will be forced to leave Iraq, as we did with Viet Nam, with our tails between our legs; those who voted to support this war (which is virtually every politician) will be voted out of office; it doesn’t look good for us to recruit convicted criminals into our military, and by so doing, decent young people won’t want to join, and we desperately need more bodies, so let’s allow the Gays to join.  Then, when the war is over (whenever that is), and we really don’t need them anymore, we can then do our best to drum them out of the military.”

For Gay people to be allowed to join the Armed Services and serve openly, during these times of war when bodies are desperately needed, and when linguists are desperately needed, I don’t consider it a victory for DADT to be repealed, now allowing, out of political and military desperation, openly Gay people to become candidates for becoming cannon fodder, absent full and equal civil rights being accorded to LGBT people.

If repealing DADT were merely one part of a Civil Rights package that fully granted civil rights to Gay people, that would be one thing.  However, just to repeal DADT absent the granting of full and equal civil rights to Gay people, strikes me as just being a cruel joke masked as a “victory” for Gay people.

[Also posted on A Christian Voice For Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, And Transgender Rights.]

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Jerry Maneker

Jerry Maneker

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