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Home » Ethical questions » “Senate vote yesterday that will allow gay men and women to serve openly in the US military for the first time.”

“Senate vote yesterday that will allow gay men and women to serve openly in the US military for the first time.”

Some of my critics seem to think that because I don’t support homosexual unions being called or considered a Marriage in  law means that I am in some sense unsympathetic to the desires of homosexuals to be accepted as fully functional members of society or that they should be able to live their lives unaffected by discrimination. Well I just want to say that I am very pleased indeed that the “Don’t ask  don’t tell” hypocrisy has been ended by a successful vote in the US Senate.

The bill to repeal 'don't ask, don't tell' went through easily, in spite of opposition from some senior Republlicans. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Gay rights activists and liberals were celebrating after a surprise Senate vote yesterday that will allow gay men and women to serve openly in the US military for the first time.

Democrats, supported by eight Republicans and two independents, voted by a higher-than-expected 65 to 31 in favour of repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, the messy compromise introduced during the Clinton years.

One of the main campaign groups, the Servicemembers Legal Defence Network, described reform as the “defining civil rights initiative of this decade”.

Opponents of the bill’s repeal, such as the socially conservative Family Research Council, described the vote as “a tragic day for our armed forces”.

Tony Perkins, the Family Research Council’s president, said: “The American military exists for only one purpose – to fight and win wars. It has now been hijacked and turned into a tool for imposing on the country a radical social agenda.”

The vote gives an unexpected end-of-year boost to Barack Obama, who campaigned in 2008 on a promise to repeal don’t ask, don’t tell, in which gay people could serve in the military as long as their sexual orientation remained secret.

This is a great day for equality and a recognition that those who serve their country and risk their lives in harms way all deserve our respect and support no matter what rocks their jocks .

Cheers Comrades


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  2. Sax says:

    Brings new meaning to sex discrimination ? What will happen now ? They have Airman’s quarters, Airwomen’s Quarters, and ??????

    I remember the lectures, about the destruction of Espirit de Corp, that homosexuality would create, if allowed ? God knows how many hours did I have to sit through those woftams ?

    My concern is what happens in war zones ? There is a lot of sharing that goes on. Water bottles, clothing, communal showering, washing et al.
    What about the eternal ribbing that goes on, not only between the sexes, but also between all military personnel. That is why a lot of civvy laws regarding work protocol don’t apply ? There is a lot of it ? Don’t ask, don’t tell, hmm, I think that would make it, or turn it into a very ‘suspicious’ working environment. The pressure is already full on with these guys and gals, the added pressure of suspicion, is the last thing they need.

  3. gigdiary says:

    Sax, this new law won’t change the percentage of gays in the military. They are already serving in the military.

  4. Sax says:

    Maybe in the US GD, but here in OZ, being a former part of the system, you pick up on everything with those you share living quarters with very quickly. There are probably gays serving here, but if there are, they are very good at hiding it. It is a community. Not only do you share living quarters, but usually all socialise together constantly, eat together, work together etc. As jobs are skill specific, security clearances et al, it is very difficult to talk shop with anyone that is not au fei with how it all works, or live outside the system. Under these circumstances, you pick up on everyone elses habits, idiosyncrasies, and “leanings” very quickly. In Oz, went I went through selection, they psychs spent an inordinate amount of time, framing questions just to attempt to determine what sexual leanings existed. From what I hear, nothing has changed, and regardless of what the law says or orders, I doubt whether the situation will ever change here, at least behind the closed doors of power. Maybe outwardly, but when the decision finally is taken, it will never happen here.

  5. gigdiary says:

    Sax, Aussies are no different to Yanks, a certain percentage of the population are homosexual; likewise a certain percentage who enter the armed forces are this way inclined. Back in your day, and my day, yes, they would have been forced to keep their inclination a secret. Thankfully that’s changing. If you served in the forces as you say you did, sure as hell you showered alongside some gay blokes. You just didn’t know it. They knew though and felt the pain and anguish of having to live a double life.

    It didn’t hurt you, did it? You were probably more at risk from a few crazy heteros who got a bit frisky ‘cos they were away from the missus, and found they didn’t mind which way they got it, as long as they got it! 🙂

  6. Sax says:

    No, it didn’t hurt me, but makes me shudder to think about it for a minute though ?
    As you were “also in”, (if I surmise correctly ?), you know the standard rule about if you drop the soap ? Maybe in jest for certain, but now I come to think about it ?
    In all my time, which was quite substantial, even being an officer, I never saw it. It must have been well hidden, and hell, I served all over the bloody place, as did David, my offsider. As most of my ‘runs’ included US bases, I have to be honest, and never saw much of it there either. As you said, maybe well hidden, but it has been my experience, that human nature being what it is, we cannot conceal leanings forever. Our own nature, and yearnings, whatever leaning, will forever undo us in the long term ?

  7. gigdiary says:

    What? If you drop the soap leave it on the floor, or kick it all the way…ah heck…silly old jokes. I may come across as a bit of a redneck on this blog, and I agree with Iain’s stance on the gay marriage issue, and Ray’s for that matter, but really there are some habits, traditions that are better left in the dark ages. One of these is the denigration of homosexuals. They are, always have been, part of society; it’s time we laid the notion to rest that they deserve derision, mockery or any other type of discrimination.

    A gay bloke is less unlikely to jump you in the shower that a sex-crazed hetero. How do I know this? Years later, in the eighties, I spent a decade in the theatre. It’s not 90/10 in that arena, it’s dancers 90% gay, musos 100% hetero, or so they say, and the conductor, chances are 98% he’s gay. It sort of sifts out the bullshit. We’re all people doing a job. Horrifyingly as this may sound, gay men are not interested in us. They like other gay men. And yes, they know how to tell the difference.

    Given that homosexuals have always been a part of the armed forces, I don’t see this as the end of civilisation, but simply an end to the hypocrisy of the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.

  8. Sax says:

    Actually GD, when it comes down to it, in my case, my problem is not the sexual side, scary as that is ? My problem is the health issues. Being operational, there are always concerns about blood loss, blood borne problems from open wounds, and it may be a bit of paranoia on my part, but the thought of transmission of these problems worries not only me, but many ? Surely that concern is not unfounded ?

  9. gigdiary says:

    Maybe, although I really think that is an overreaction. Yet soldiers who are male, of a certain age, are bigger, stronger, than females. So why are females on the front line? Are they? I have this issue with female police officers as well. Since they negated the height requirement, women 5’2″ are pushed into situations apprehending big, mad crazy idiot blokes. That doesn’t make sense. And of course everyone will shout me down, but a woman’s monthly cycle surely has some bearing on her ability to face frontline action. Have we gone mad?

    5’2″ police officers? It seems we have gone overboard, (refugee ref), in promoting an equality that never existed in the first place.

  10. Sax says:

    I agree with you, in that in my case, the paranoia may be a bit rife. Hell, knowing the people I served with, some of them would be an odds on bet for xmission of anything nasty, and they were straight. The old expression, when it comes to unsafe sex, is that when you partake, you have sex with every person your partner has ? Pretty scary when you think about it. Under that scenario, you are in danger, whether gay or straight is there ?

    As for same sex marriage, I agree. Why shouldn’t same-sex couples have the same rights, and protections, that marriage offers, for the rest of us ? Apart from the church, (which is becoming quickly irrelevant in its antiquated approaches to the human race), who are we to judge, or deny a right that is primarily a standard one ?

    As for female police officers, I thought that problem was one of numbers ? Last I heard, they simply were not getting enough males to sign up ?

  11. Ray Dixon says:

    “there are some habits, traditions that are better left in the dark ages. One of these is the denigration of homosexuals. They are, always have been, part of society; it’s time we laid the notion to rest that they deserve derision, mockery or any other type of discrimination.”

    Well said, GD. I think we’ll always hjave a joke about gays and their, um, practices. But, after all, they’re just people. I feel like I’m in the middle of some turning point with you two. It’s like Sam Cooke’s song, “A change is gonna come” – it’s happened!

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