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Old 06-09-2010, 04:05 PM   #91
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I was in the Army for a few years, and there were some homosexuals in the units I was in. One was my boss for a brief time and later became the battalion commander -- and was one of the better examples of military leadership I came across. A few were my soldiers. Honestly, from what I recall, all of them were competent and committed, if not superior to their peers. Generally, everyone knew what their orientation was, but I feel confident in saying that nobody really cared. If there was any discrimination, I never saw it at all.
So he was an LC? Sometimes I feel like there's a huge difference between the enlisted and officers. My dad, and some of my friends were enlisted, and they became the butt of racists, sexist, etc. jokes. Whereas, in my brief experience with officers, I noticed there wasn't much of that going on.
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:03 AM   #92
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Washington (CNN) -- The Pentagon on Wednesday began sending out to troops a survey of more than 100 questions seeking their views on the impact of repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" restrictions prohibiting gays and lesbians from openly serving in the U.S. military.

An administration official confirmed to CNN that the survey is being sent to 200,000 active duty troops and 200,000 reserve troops. The official declined to be identified because the survey has not officially been made public.

The survey, which service members can expect to receive via e-mail, asks about such issues as how unit morale or readiness might be affected if a commander is believed to be gay or lesbian; the need to maintain personal standards of conduct; and how repeal might affect willingness to serve in the military.

The survey also asks a number of questions aimed at identifying problems that could occur when troops live and work in close quarters in overseas war zones. For example, the questionnaire asks military members how they would react if they had to share a room, bathrooms, and open-bay showers in a war zone with other service members believed to be gay or lesbian.

There also are several questions about reactions to dealing with same-sex partners in social situations.


The Pentagon established a team to conduct the survey earlier this year. President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen have all publicly backed a repeal of the current policy. Defense Department officials insist the survey is aimed at determining the impact of a repeal -- not whether repeal should happen.

Several members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have said they want to see the results of the survey before they offer their final advice on the impact of a repeal to Obama and Gates.

In May, the House of Representatives approved a plan that would repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy after the military's internal review is completed and Obama, Gates, and Mullen to sign off on the policy change. The Senate, however, did not pass the measure.

According to a senior U.S. military official with direct knowledge of the review process, the military needs until the end of 2010 to figure out how to implement a repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" in terms of housing, medical and marriage benefits, as well as issues involving the reinstatement of gay soldiers previously discharged under the policy.

A major problem might be determining how to reconcile the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" with federal law that defines marriage as between a man a woman, the official said.

In addition to distributing the survey, the Pentagon has also been soliciting opinions in a number of private meetings with troops.

The results of the review will not be available until December, the official said.
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Old 07-11-2010, 04:12 AM   #93
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I don't understand, isn't "don't ask, don't tell" a GOOD thing?
It means that a soldier's private life should remain PRIVATE and sexual orientation is nobody's business, right?
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Old 07-11-2010, 04:33 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by AchtungBono View Post
I don't understand, isn't "don't ask, don't tell" a GOOD thing?
It means that a soldier's private life should remain PRIVATE and sexual orientation is nobody's business, right?
it's not so much keeping it a secret because it's no one's business, it's keeping one's sexuality a secret, otherwise they can't serve in the armed forces. if someone in the armed forces is gay, they can be discharged. the don't ask, don't tell policy was added as a sort of compromise to that.
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Old 07-11-2010, 11:23 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by AchtungBono View Post
I don't understand, isn't "don't ask, don't tell" a GOOD thing?
It means that a soldier's private life should remain PRIVATE and sexual orientation is nobody's business, right?


if a gay servicemember were to, say, put a picture of their partner on their desk, or if they were to mention that they went to the movies with a significant other, they could be discharged.

are you married? have a boyfriend? try spending a day not talking about them at all, and worrying about whether or not you said something that might tip someone off that you have a husband/boyfriend, and that's what it's like for gay soldiers living under DADT.
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Old 07-11-2010, 01:33 PM   #96
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I understand now - thank you both for clarifying that.
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Old 07-11-2010, 02:55 PM   #97
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I understand now - thank you both for clarifying that.


no problem.

and i understand that Israel allows openly gay members to serve without issue. that's very admirable.
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Old 07-23-2010, 10:35 AM   #98
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Washington Post

One of the most vocal critics of the military's “don't ask, don't tell” policy has been honorably discharged for being in violation of the policy.

Dan Choi, a West Point graduate and first lieutenant with the Army National Guard, said he learned of the decision on Thursday.

“It's painful mostly, not that my career is coming to an end, but really that it's been a very difficult year,” he said in an interview.

Though his discharge has been rumored for weeks in the gay blogosphere and among gay rights activists, Choi said he only officially learned of the discharge on Thursday after a phone call from his commander.

"The Army said I was notified by letter to my home of record, which is Orange County, Calif.," Choi said. "My dad apparently signed for the letter and, well, that’s what they say."

Choi hasn't spoken to his father since October, he said.

He emerged as the face of gay and lesbian service members discharged under the policy when he came out publicly during a March 2009 MSNBC interview -- essentially violating "don't ask, don't tell" in front of a primetime television audience.

The military started discharge proceedings shortly after the interview. The move angered gay rights groups and other opponents of the policy, who cited Choi's training as an Arab linguist as reason enough to keep him in the military.

Choi has been arrested several times for disorderly conduct at rallies in opposition to "don't ask" and other anti-gay policies. On Tuesday officers arrested him in Las Vegas at a rally in support of the Employment Non Discrimination Act. In March he was arrested in Washington for handcuffing himself to a White House fence. Prosecutors dropped charges against him without explanation last week shortly after he said he would subpoena President Obama if his case went to trial.

Choi said he spends his time "couch surfing" between the homes of friends in New York and Washington. He will reenlist if the Pentagon repeals the policy.

"The statute hasn’t been lifted yet," he said. "And I’m still going to be an activist. I’m still going to be fighting loudly for equal rights. I don’t find the two incompatible, I’ll do both. I believe being an activist makes me a better soldier, and being a soldier makes me a better activist."

The House included a repeal of “don't ask” in its version of the annual defense spending bill and the Senate is expected to do the same later this year. On Friday a federal judge in California is scheduled to hear closing arguments in a case brought by the conservative, pro-gay Log Cabin Republicans that challenges the constitutionality of the policy.
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Old 07-23-2010, 10:44 AM   #99
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How the hell did he end up being in the Guard if he graduated from West Point? I thought they had a four year active duty comittment.
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Old 07-23-2010, 10:52 AM   #100
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He served in Iraq in 06 and 07 and transferred from active duty to the National Guard in 08. I don't know about the 4 year thing.

Don't think that's relevant to DADT
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Old 07-23-2010, 10:59 AM   #101
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His rank was puzzling. I looked him up. Seems he must have been passed over for promotion (he was in my year group, and most of us were promoted to Captain in 2006). Something must have happened between 2003 to 2005 to prevent him from being selected for the next grade.
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Old 09-21-2010, 09:53 AM   #102
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Washington (CNN) -- The outcome of a key Senate vote Tuesday on whether to begin debate on legislation that includes a repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy remains too close to call.

Republicans appear united against the measure, including some GOP senators who favor lifting the Pentagon's requirement that gays and lesbians keep their sexuality a secret. The Republican opponents are upset that Democratic leaders so far refuse to allow GOP amendments to the broader National Defense Authorization Act that includes the "don't ask, don't tell" provision.

Pop star Lady Gaga spoke at an afternoon rally in Maine to pressure the state's two Republican senators -- Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins -- to join Democrats in overcoming an expected filibuster attempt. To loud cheers from the crowd, Gaga said she was proposing a new law titled, "If you don't like it, go home," which would remove homophobic straight soldiers from the military instead of gay soldiers.

"If you are not honorable enough to fight without prejudice, go home," she shouted.

Without the support of the Maine senators, Democrats are unlikely to muster the 60 votes needed to proceed with debate on the defense authorization plan. Both oppose the policy, and Collins was the sole Republican vote in the Senate Armed Services Committee in support of getting rid of it.
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Old 09-21-2010, 11:34 AM   #103
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Man chosen to lead Marines against lifting gay ban

By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer Anne Flaherty, Associated Press Writer – 21 mins ago
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama's choice to lead the Marine Corps says he doesn't think Congress should lift the ban on gay troops who want to serve openly.

Gen. James Amos' comment came hours before a Senate test vote on a defense policy bill that would repeal the 17-year-old law, known as "don't ask, don't tell."

Amos told a Senate panel on Tuesday he was concerned that unit morale could suffer. He also said the shake up could become a distraction for forces busy fighting in Afghanistan.

When pressed by Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, who supports repealing the law, Amos said the Marine Corps would dutifully implement any changes to its personnel policy if Congress changed the law.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's John McCain versus Lady Gaga on Tuesday as the Senate takes up the emotional issue of repealing the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

Senate Democrats have attached repeal of the 17-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" law to a bill authorizing $726 billion in military spending next year. The fate of the move appears uncertain, but whichever way the votes go, repeal seems destined to become a major issue in this fall's midterm elections.

The law is already under siege. A federal judge in California recently ruled the ban on gays was unconstitutional, polls suggest a majority of Americans oppose it and Lady Gaga has challenged it in a YouTube video.

Repeal advocates say the law deprives the military of capable soldiers and violates civil rights.

But McCain of Arizona and other prominent Republicans are fighting to keep the law in place, at least until the Pentagon completes a survey later this year on repeal's likely effect on troops. GOP critics say lifting the ban at a time when troops are fighting two wars would undermine morale.

"I regret to see that the long-respected and revered Senate Armed Services Committee has evolved into a forum for a social agenda of the liberal left of the Senate," McCain said last week on the Senate floor.

An estimated 13,000 people have been discharged under the law since its inception in 1993. Although most dismissals have resulted from gay service members outing themselves, gay rights' groups say it has been used by vindictive co-workers to drum out troops who never made their sexuality an issue.

Top defense leaders, including Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, have said they support a repeal but want to move slowly to ensure changes won't hurt morale.

Gates has asked Congress not to act until the military finishes a study, due Dec. 1, on how to lift the ban without causing problems.

He also has said he could live with the proposed legislation because it would postpone implementation until 60 days after the Pentagon completes its review and the president certifies that repeal won't hurt morale, recruiting or retention.

The provision is included in a broader defense policy bill that authorizes $726 billion in military spending for next year, including $159 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a 1.4 percent pay raise for the troops.

By reviving the issue just before the midterm Congressional elections, Democrats are trying to score points with their political base and portray Republicans as obstructionists willing to shoot down a bill that includes the pay raises.

According to a February 2010 poll by the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of Americans said they favor allowing gays to serve openly, while 27 percent said they are opposed.

"Don't ask, don't tell" has become a perennial battleground in America's ongoing culture wars. This time, though, the forces backing repeal seem closer to victory than ever because Democrats control both the White House and Congress.

The House has already passed similar legislation. More recently, a federal judge in Los Angeles sided with a gay rights group and ruled that the military's policy violates due-process and free-speech rights.

Pop star Lady Gaga led a political rally in favor of repeal in Maine on Monday. The state is home to the two Republican senators — Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins — seen as most likely to side with Democrats on the issue. Lady Gaga said it was unjust to have goodhearted gay soldiers booted from military service while straight soldiers who harbor hatred toward gays are allowed to fight for their country.

She suggested a new policy should target straight soldiers who are "uncomfortable" with gay soldiers in their midst.

"Our new law is called 'If you don't like it, go home!'" she said.

Collins and Snowe have not said how they will vote this week. While Collins sided with Democrats during committee deliberations on the bill, Snowe says she would prefer to keep the ban intact until the Pentagon completes its Dec. 1 study.

In a statement, Snowe also raised questions about procedural tactics being used by Democrats to limit debate on the bill by restricting the number of amendments to three.

Spokesman John Gentzel said Snowe was paying attention to the Lady Gaga rally. But he referred reporters to Snowe's statement that said the Senate needs more time.

It's not clear whether repeal will pass the Senate. Even if Democrats block McCain's proposal to strip the provision from the spending bill, final passage is likely to be complicated by other issues.

Republicans are also hotly contesting a separate provision that would lift a long-standing ban on abortions at military facilities.

And in yet another nod to election-year politics, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., wants to attach the DREAM Act to the bill. The provision would allow thousands of young illegal immigrants who attend college or join the military to become legal U.S. residents.

Democrats say the immigration measure would boost military recruitment while Republicans say it would unfairly reward illegal immigrants with amnesty.

Reid has said a final vote on the defense policy bill may have to wait until after the elections.
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:06 PM   #104
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the American public approves of the repeal of DADT by a wide margin, but because of a few Senators who need to prove their hate credentials to the bigoted base of the Republican party, it's not going to happen. it's really shocking.

i have emailed my senator. i wish there were more i could do.

this used to be a bit lower on my list of "gay issues" mostly because i have no interest in ever joining the military, nor did i ever know anyone who did. that has changed since living in DC. i have been amazed at the enormous number of gay veterans who live in this area -- especially Arlington/Alexandria -- and all of whom are very, very proud of their service. it's enormously disrespectful to them that they are forced to lie about a very basic fact of their existence.
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Old 09-21-2010, 05:01 PM   #105
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Adopting a libertarian approach to this, there is no good argument that is not ultimately based on prejudice for not allowing gay people to serve in the military - which is, after all, a public institution.

But, by the same argument, private companies should be allowed to restrict hiring to straights only - or, for that matter, gays only, or whites only, or blacks only - if they so choose. Why should a gay bar not be allowed to hire only gay bar staff?

As for Lady Gaga, seriously, great musician, but I suspect the last thing gay soldiers want is to have her as their representative. It just lends weight to the prejudice that gays are only interested in dressing up and flamboyance.
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