Monday, July 6, 2009

What Do You Think About This?

This week's question is about a topic that has been debated off and on for 16 years after Bill Clinton signed a law setting the policy. It is up for debate again.

The law became known as the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.

This is a good description of the law by Wikepedia.

Don't ask, don't tell is the common term for the policy about homosexuality in the U.S. military mandated by federal law Pub.L. 103-160 (10 U.S.C. § 654). Unless one of the exceptions from 10 U.S.C. § 654(b) applies, the policy prohibits anyone who "demonstrate(s) a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" from serving in the armed forces of the United States, because "it would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability." The act prohibits any homosexual or bisexual person from disclosing his or her sexual orientation or from speaking about any homosexual relationships, including marriages or other familial attributes, while serving in the United States armed forces. The "don't ask" part of the policy indicates that superiors should not initiate investigation of a service member's orientation in the absence of disallowed behaviors, though mere suspicion of homosexual behavior can cause an investigation.

So, what are your thoughts? Should the law be repealed? Would allowing openly gay people serve in the military effect performance or moral? Does sexual orientation matter?

A poll of military personnel I saw showed a pretty evenly split opinion of approximately one third for repealing the law, one third keeping it, and one third with no opinion. What do you think about it?


shoprat said...

I think that Don't ask, don't tell is a workable compromise. It's one of Slick Willy's few good ideas. I consider Homosexual behavior to be a sin (though one cannot help what their body wants, you are your body's master) we cannot continue an outright ban in the current atmosphere.

Flavor Country said...

We all live and work around Homosexuals. Some are outright and some keep it quiet.

As long as you treat me with respect, you can do whatever you want with your life, God will be you judge not me.

I do think if someone is willing to lay their life down for our country's freedom...........we should give them that honor without discrimination.

Brooke said...

Do your job and don't flaunt your sexuality.

After all, I don't introduce myself or even define myself as a heterosexual.

DaBlade said...

Since you asked... I'm with shoprat on this one.

errr... Let me rephrase... I'm not WITH Shoprat, but what I meant to say is I agree with him on point. Not that we are picking out curtains or anything. Not that you asked. Though he is a handsome man.

sue said...

I think they could get used to it.

Z said...

Every soldier I know's been leery of anything more than 'don't ask,don't tell'.....They tell me soldiers don't want to know the guy in the shower stall is homosexual.
Or the fellow in the upper bunk, for example.
I guess they have ENOUGH to 'worry' about.


Nikki said...

I think its stupid. As soon as hetero's in the military are monopolizing stellar examples of morality, I guess it would matter. I am not ripping on the military, I am just pointing out that there is less than perfectness among many in the military. And adultry and fornication still go on regularly as we speak. I don't think adulterers should or do serve openly. I think anyone who wants to serve their country should be able to do so and we should be grateful for their service. I also think that the rules of morality apply to all service men and women regardless of sexual orientation and if rules are broken then punish across the board gay and straight alike. :)N

MK said...

Keep it, it's the perfect compromise. But then the left aren't really about compromise are they, they just want to push their agenda, damn the consequences.

Always On Watch said...

I agree with Brooke.

One of the problems I have with homosexuals is their flaunting of their sexual orientation.

Thus, I favor "don't ask, don't tell."

Chuck said...

Thanks all, I just wanted to see were the conversation went. I agree, I'm not a huge gay rights supporter but at the same time I'm not going to revile them. It's kind of a each to his own. I don't talk about my sex life at work, I want them to do the same. Just like all adults should.

DaBlade, umm, thanks.

cube said...

Don't ask me because I won't tell ;-)

Flavor Country said...

[One of the problems I have with homosexuals is their flaunting of their sexual orientation.] Always on Watch

The problem with that is it's not true. If you are talking about the ones who cross dress, or act if they are women....small percentage.

The rest like the ones who currently serve or who work with you, live around you never even know.

Just like we didn't know Sanford was a cheater, or Hoover like to wear woman's clothing or the guy down the street likes to watch little boys on the internet.

Brooke said...

While at work last week I saw a female wearing a tank top that with a tattoo that depicted two female symbols intertwined with the word pride beneath, and rainbow colored.

Now, if I got a male/female sign intertwined with the word pride under it tattooed on my arm, I would be a bigot, wouldn't I?

I hate the double-standard.

Mustang said...

I have no doubt that the left would be more than happy to emasculate our fighting forces; they’ve certainly done an exceptional job demeaning the masculine role in general society. We ought to wonder about this.

The ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ provision makes sense; so too does discharging from the service anyone to exhibits homosexual behavior. The issue isn’t one involving the sinfulness of homosexual lifestyles, nor even how pathetically sick such behaviors are … it is, rather, about maintaining special trust and confidence in the ranks, where the fighting is done.

The reason this issue confounds most civilians is that they do not/cannot understand the unique atmosphere of military service. And they do not understand that esprit de corps and appropriate bonding has a direct impact on fighting efficiencies. Unit morale and combat/combat service support efficiency are indelible factors; it may not be ‘as critical’ in a mess kit repair company as in a front line infantry unit, but the fact is that every unit has a vital mission to perform as part of the force structure.

In my 29-years of service, I cannot recall a single Marine asking or even wondering aloud about the sexual orientation of any other. On the other hand, openly queer men and women create a hostile environment because this behavior (no matter how politically correct or socially acceptable Hollywood attempts to make it) is anathema to heterosexuals. When members of a unit feel hostility or mistrust toward another man or woman, it detracts from unit morale, and it decreases the unit’s efficiency.

An efficient unit is exceptionally well trained; this necessarily includes the belief that every member of the unit can rely on his fellow soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine to do his part at all times. It involves respecting one another, and a willingness to go the extra distance to ensure the unit’s success completing its mission. A soldier who respects every member of his fire team will exhibit extraordinary bravery to protect and defend his team. Conversely, no one is willing to lay down his or her life for someone who everyone else detests or mistrusts; for the most part, this would include queers.

HoosierArmyMom said...

Even in civilian life, I don't want details of what goes on between closed doors, regardless of someone's orientation.

Personally, homosexuality makes me sick when I see same sex people being obnoxious about their brand of behavior. By the same token, I have known many that behave like "normal couples" and that does not bother me.
It's the extremists that think small children need to be brainwashed into thinking homosexuality is the way to go that I'd like to throttle.

In the armed forces, I think the reason women still cannot be permanently assigned to combat units is obvious... there is an emotional side to all male / female relationships that can get in the way of disciplined responses in battle. That is obvious. I would think the same "emotional blocks" would exist with same sex couples or homosexuals as well. Don't ask, don't tell is an effective rule that keeps our troops "mentally fit to do well in combat and stay alive" I think. I also think Mustang speaks with obvious authority on the subject as well.

HoosierArmyMom said...

Also... for the record, I don't like to see public demonstrations on the part of heterosexuals either. Keep it behind closed doors.

James' Muse said...

I have to disagree with the law. In the Police, Fire, etc, gay people do serve openly and morale is just fine. That's why we have sexual harrassment laws & regulations. I think that gays who aren't flaunting it, but just answer questions truthfully, should be able to serve. For example: if they want to say "I miss my husband/partner" they should be able to. Or if one of their fellow servicemen sees them on a date with someone of the same sex while on leave, they shouldn't be punished.

But if they are hitting on their fellow soldiers, then that crosses the line of sexual harassment, and should be punished accordingly.

It wasn't that long ago that blacks weren't allowed to serve for many of the same "morale" arguments.

Miss T.C. Shore said...

If we allow openly gay people in the military, is there any way to move them all to the front line where all the action is?

Pasadena Closet Conservative said...

That's all we need: a bunch of openly gay soldiers and sailors.

I can see the U.S. Military Gay Pride Parade now.

Chuck said...

Mustang, there has been considerable debate about troop moral and homosexuality in a unit. I think the law speaks to that. An openly gay man or woman will usually not do well in this environment. At the same time, they are there.

Hoosier, well said. I work with a couple of gay people. One of them is a woman and we talk about her partner on a regular basis, they come to parties with us, etc. I agree, I do not want to hear details, I don't want to see them hanging all over each other at the party. At the same time, my wife and I do not make out at these parties and I do not talk about our sex life, it's nobodies business. I respect both people because they respect us.

James, thanks. While I can't agree, I think you make a valid point. I have to go with Mustang though in that the military is a different environment. It is intersting though if this works in the PDs and FDs, they are the closest environments to the military.

TC, cute

PCC, this is exactly what the law is supposed to avoid. If it works properly. I admit though that it is inevitable that this will come up.

Leslie said...

The issue here is the building up and maintaining of morale among military personnel who are already struggling with the major stresses of war. Unless you have been in this situation, one cannot flippantly assume the issue is something to just get used to, or to wait until sexual advances are made before addressing the issue.

While not all men and women in the military are highly moral, there is a natural sexual orientation and an unnatural. Homosexuality is unnatural. Placing proclaiming homosexuals in a unit will naturally cause tension and strife. Again, unless you have been around those who blatantly flaunt their homosexuality, you may not understand the uncomfortableness, the distraction, and the uneasiness which it causes. Even if a person is not flaunting their homosexuality, once it is known, it automatically changes the view of that person in the eyes of those around him or her. Irregardless if this is a right attitude or not, it is a fact.

The issue becomes what does it take to have an effective military? I refer to Mustang’s experience when he says: “it is, rather, about maintaining special trust and confidence in the ranks, where the fighting is done…When members of a unit feel hostility or mistrust toward another man or woman, it detracts from unit morale, and it decreases the unit’s efficiency.”

Those in our services make sacrifices every day in order to do their jobs. The lack of discussing one’s sexual orientation is not a major sacrifice. Homosexuals want everyone else to be understanding about their beliefs and lifestyles…well, it goes both ways.

Chuck said...

Leslie, thanks. If I understand the law, it says that openly gay people can be expelled. I think the original intent was that the military would not actively ferret out gay personnel to discharge. I have a tendancy to agree. The issue to guard against is where it goes from here. If recent history is a guide, gays will soon be looking for same sex partner benefits, etc.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Nikki wrote:

I am just pointing out that there is less than perfectness among many in the military. And adultry and fornication still go on regularly as we speak. I don't think adulterers should or do serve openly.

I think the difference is, as z mentions, is sharing shower stalls and bathrooms with someone attracted to your gender.

I think anyone who wants to serve their country should be able to do so and we should be grateful for their service.

I agree with that last statement.

And I think shoprat may be right, that "don't ask, don't tell" may be the only workable solution.

Giving homosexual men separate showers and bathrooms won't work, since they're attracted to each other. They certainly can't share with women, either, because even if they find nothing erotic about a woman's body, what would heterosexual women think, seeing their naked bodies in the same shower stalls?