12 brave Americans are challenging the Pentagon's 11 year old "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. The Policy was brought in by President Clinton and was at the time seen to be a means to allow gays to participate in the Military and hopefully lead to a gradule change in the open homophobia exhibited by American Generals and their sub ordinates.
Previous policy barred gays from military service.
To date the policy has not contributed what it had hoped. As is the usual case the military continues to hunt our homosexuals and send them packing. This mean spirited approach is not hidden. You can be a hero, excellent at your job, a leader respected by your peers yet being gay will have you ousted faster than elcetronic voting machines in Ohio or Florida can be "stuffed."
"We think the gay ban can no longer survive constitutionally," said Dixon Osburn, the executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Mr. Osburn suggests the reason is the 2003 Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas.
In that case(1.), In Lawrence vs. Texas, two gay men said the state of Texas deprived them of privacy rights and equal protection under the law when they were arrested in 1998 for having sex in a Houston home.
A neighbor had reported a "weapons disturbance" at the home of John G. Lawrence, and when police arrived they only found two men having sex. Lawrence and another man, Tyron Garner, were held overnight in jail and later fined $200 each for violating the state’s Homosexual Conduct law. The neighbor was later convicted of filing a false police report.
All sodomy laws in the US are now unconstitutional and unenforceable when applied to non-commercial consenting adults in private.
Justin Peacock, a former Coast Guard member from Knoxville, Tenn.
kicked out of the service after someone reported he was seen holding hands with another man.
To date two more lawsuits were filed after the 2003 Lawrence vs Texas Case was decided.
Many gay and lesbian Americans have served their country well. They fought in wars, were honoured for the efforts with medals and then sacked just before they would receive a pension. The Pentagon has slowed its purge of gays from the military. It has in place a stop loss policy at the moment. So today's American Military think gays are good enough to die in Iraq, to serve on the front with their heterosexual buddies.
When the war is over, like every other war, the US Military will resume its ruthless cleansing of the ranks. No honourable discharge, no pension, no help, no benefits. Funny how in "America the Beautiful" some Americans are better and more deserving than others.
Deeds and medals won't help, support of your crew won't help, years of dedicated service won't help, in fact just hope the don't throw you in the brig!
America the Beautiful
O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!
Rick Barnes, 46, is a 25 year veteran of gay rights and social justice issues and has played a significant role in electing GLBTQ and those supportive of gay rights to political office at the local, provincial and federal level in Canada.
see: Gays Is Challenge Pentagon Policy "don't ask, don't tell"
(1.) Sodomy Laws