Supreme Court Keeps "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Alive

The Supreme Court today rejected a challenge to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton established the policy as a compromise after strong resistance from the military and Congress toward allowing gays to serve openly in the armed forces.

...During last year's campaign, President Barack Obama indicated he supported the eventual repeal of the policy, but he has made no specific move to do so since taking office in January. Meanwhile, the White House has said it won't stop gays and lesbians from being dismissed from the military.

The Obama Administration sided with the military in this case: [More...]

In court papers, the administration said the appeals court ruled correctly in this case when it found that "don't ask, don't tell" is "rationally related to the government's legitimate interest in military discipline and cohesion."

According to the Pentagon:

"The law requires the (Defense) Department to separate from the armed services members who engage in or attempt to engage in homosexual acts; state they are homosexual or bisexual; or marry or attempt to marry a person of the same biological sex."

The case is Pietrangelo v. Gates, 08-824. The Court's order states:

The motion of petitioner to strike the brief of the Cook respondents is denied. The motion of petitioner to seal Attachment A to the motion to strike is granted. The motion of the Cook respondents to withdraw the brief filed January 26, 2009, is granted. The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

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    The change we need. . . (5.00 / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 11:48:17 AM EST

    Lawrence Tribe recently (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:07:52 PM EST
    opined DOMA may violate the Equal Protection clause.  Is the Obama admin. listening to him?  Guess not.

    I think folks are leery of bringing (none / 0) (#39)
    by tokin librul on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 02:33:35 PM EST
    14th amendment cases, either equal protection or due process, because the believe the current (Opus Dei) Court could actually rule to overturn significant elements of the Amendment...

    Opus Dei? (1.00 / 1) (#96)
    by ricosuave on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 01:33:32 AM EST
    Was that aside really necessary?  When my peeps disagree with you, will you call them a Cabal?  How will you refer to Sotomayor?

    I'm not Catholic--I'm not even a Christian--but I am troubled by the idea that people might find the justices Catholicism problematic.  Catholics are no more or less controlled by the leaders of their religion than Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists, Hindus, Muslims, or Jews.

    I doubt anyone on this site would tolerate remarks like that about Blacks, Jews, or Hispanics.  So lets lay off the Catholics.  Alito and Scalia give us plenty of legitimate reasons to criticize them, so stick to those.


    Apparently not re due process and (none / 0) (#41)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 02:36:23 PM EST
    campaign contributions to state appellate judges.

    Mayhap that had more to do with (none / 0) (#45)
    by tokin librul on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 02:44:55 PM EST
    the fact that the judiciary itself was under scrutiny. And at 5-4, it was close, in any case, even if it was the self-evidently correct decision. I wonder if, say, the equal protection clause were the central issue of a gay marriage case, would Kennedy not come down with the rest of the mackerel snappers...

    Well, the problem is that (none / 0) (#56)
    by dk on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:09:03 PM EST
    we have no idea whether Obama's appointments will be be more like Souter or more like Scalia on 14th amendment issues, as he swears up and down that he didn't even ask Sotomayor about her position on Roe v. Wade, and no one on the left so far seems to want to take up the cause of trying to find out what her views are.

    She sd. "it's the law." (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:10:35 PM EST
    And no, that isn't enough for me either.

    Yup, I believe (none / 0) (#69)
    by dk on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:28:28 PM EST
    that's pretty close, if not the same, as what Roberts said.

    Maybe because (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:09:24 PM EST
    It is the official policy of the Department of Defense?

    Just as it is the policy of my place of employment as to what I may wear to work, even though the person who created the policy no longer works here?

    Not similar (none / 0) (#22)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:43:51 PM EST
    The DOD carries out this policy at the direction of its civilian masters.  If you get a ticket for speeding, it is not because of highway patrol policy.

    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).

    Emphasis added.  

    The military does not make law.  Congress wrote the law, and president Clinton signed it.  


    I think (5.00 / 5) (#27)
    by Steve M on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:55:58 PM EST
    you are being quite disingenuous, intentionally or otherwise, about the process by which this policy came to be.  It's not like the military just sat their passively in 1993 and said "just let us know what you want, political branches, we're fine with any policy you direct us to carry out."

    They fought tooth and nail to preserve the military's long-standing anti-gay policy; it was the military's position on the issue that ultimately forced the compromise which is embodied in the DADT law.


    Yep at this juncture Bill Clinton was a much (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by iceblinkjm on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 02:33:07 PM EST
    better friend and advocate for the gay and lesbian community. Thus far all we have gotten out of Obama is talk. Bill Clinton was not  craven as this in ignoring GLBT supporters and yet got the bad rap. It's amazing what rhetoric and race will get you these days.

    It's amazing what mystique (5.00 / 0) (#44)
    by jondee on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 02:43:15 PM EST
    based on little more than a faulty memory will get you these days.

    I'd like to hear some actual concrete examples that prove that Clinton was a "much better Friend" etc.


    First off we have not seen one piece of action by (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by iceblinkjm on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 02:58:33 PM EST
    this administration as PROMISED during the campaign no action or no policy just rhetoric. Bill Clinton stuck his neck out and got burned. I don't think it's my memory that's faulty but than unlike a lot of Obama supporters I was old enough to vote during the 90's.

    Alot of that so-called compromise (none / 0) (#43)
    by jondee on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 02:40:42 PM EST
    is just a laughable maintenance of pre-existing status quo: there are alot of ways to "ask" without directly asking, and any gay person with half-a-brain knew already that it wouldnt be in their career interests to tell anyone.

    The point remains (none / 0) (#47)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 02:53:04 PM EST
    The DOD is following the law, written by Congress and signed by Clinton.  Don't ask don't tell is not a policy under DOD control, such as salute with the right hand.

    No (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by Steve M on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:00:30 PM EST
    It is just a policy that was instituted because of the military's demands, that's all.  That's why it is disingenuous for you to say "the DOD carries out this policy at the direction of its civilian masters."

    That is not how laws are enacted. (none / 0) (#97)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 07:43:40 AM EST

    The military can demand in one hand and spit in the other and the other will fill up first.  This is not a military dictatorship.  Both the Congress and president Clinton are under no obligation to honor such "demands" that in reality are nothing more than mere requests.

    BTW, "the military" does not speak with one voice on this issue.  Some members of the military may feel this way or that way, but requests (not demands) go up the chain of command, and orders go down the chain of command.  The President is at the top of that chain.

    Lastly, it is not simply policy, its the law.

    If the Congress and the President change the law, then DOD will carry out the new law.  Some in the military will like it and some not, just as it is with the current law.


    Whatever (none / 0) (#102)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 02:40:08 PM EST
    The fact remains that this law exists because the military brass pushed for it when Bill Clinton tried to make good on a campaign promise and the elected Democrats caved to homophobic moderates and wingers, not because there is a valid reason for preventing gays from serving.

    Even so (none / 0) (#59)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:11:45 PM EST
    The military is historically right wing and anti-gay. Military leadership pushed this because they have their own issues, and Clinton missed an opportunity to do what is right. Now Obama is ignoring it, in spite of being a fierce advocate of our constitutional and equality.

    At this point, a stop loss order from Obama would temporarily prevent execution of the DADT policy, and once LGBT military staff come out, it'll be too hard to force them back into the closet. What are they going to do when the stop loss order expires? Tell soldiers that even though last week they could tell the world they are gay, they can no longer say so this week? Are you going to make same sex couples get divorced after  the temporary stop loss order expires? Once they're out and everyone realizes the sky hasn't fallen, the issue becomes more simple - freedom of speech.

    Obama can do this, and once done, Congress can rescind DADT. Trying to get it done the other way around is political suicide for our elected Democrats.

    Tell your friends, relatives, coworkers, church groups and political groups to demand the military stop wasting our tax dollars like they did when they threw away $25 Million with the firing of decorated war hero Lt. Col. Fehrenbach.  


    Yes, it was. (none / 0) (#70)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:29:29 PM EST
    Dod Directive 1332.14, dated January 28, 1982 (since canceled and re-issued in 2008) specifically said:

    Homosexuality (Part 1, Section H)
    1. Basis

    a. Homosexuality is incompatible with military service. The presence in the military environment of persons who engage In homosexual conduct or who, by their statements, demonstrate a propensity to engage in homosexual conduct, seriously impairs the accomplishment of the military mission. The presence of such members
    adversely affects the ability of the Military Services to maintain discipline, good order,
    and morale; to foster mutual trust and confidence among service members, to ensure the integrity of the system of rank and command; to facilitate assignment and worldwide deployment of service members who frequently must live and work under close conditions affording minimal privacy: to recruit and retain members of the Military
    Services; to maintain the public acceptability of military service; and to prevent breaches of security.

    b. As used in this action:
    (1) Homosexual means a person, regardless of sex, who engages in, desires to engage in, or intends to engage in homosexual acts;

    (2) Bisexual means a person who engages in, desires to engage in, or intends to engage in homosexual and heterosexual acts; and

    (3) A homosexual act means bodily contact, actively undertaken or passively permitted, between members of the same sex for the purpose of satisfying sexual desires.

    C. The basis for separation may include preservice, prior service, or current service conduct or statements. A member shall be separated under this section if one or more of the following approved findings is made:

    (1) The member has engaged in, attempted to engage in, or solicited another to engage in a homosexual act or acts unless there are approved further findings that:

    (a) Such conduct is a departure from the member's usual and customary behavior;

    (b) Such conduct under all the circumstances is unlikely to recur;

    (c) Such conduct was not accomplished by use of force, coercion, or intimidation by the member during a period of military service;

    (d) Under the particular circumstances of the case, the member's continued presence in the Service IS consistent with the interest of the Service in proper discipline, good order, and morale; and

    (e) The member does not desire to engage in or intend to engage in homosexual acts.

    (2) The member has stated that he or she is a homosexual or bisexual unless there is a further finding that the member is not a homosexual or bisexual.

    (3) The member has married or attempted to marry a person known to be of the same biological sex (as evidenced by the external anatomy of the persons involved) unless there are further findings that the member is not a homosexual or
    bisexual and that the purpose of the marriage or attempt was the avoidance or termination of military service.

    to say this is "Clintons policy" (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:35:37 PM EST
    is absurd.  he was backed into a corner because he answered a question honestly - in that MTV thing I think - about the policy while running.
    then when he won everyone freaked out and started pummeling him.  he got the best deal he could.
    the interesting thing about the comparison of Clinton and Obama that someone made upthread is that they both said they would end the policy.
    but Clinton actually tried.

    I am hoping that as another poster said he means to repeal the policy but is just conserving political capital.  which admittedly he will probably need.
    the optimist in me hopes he learned from both the Clinton health care experience and the Clinton gay experience and is simply treading more carefully.

    I know.  I know.   its the optimist thing again.
    I cant help it.  I think its genetic.


    Obama is storing that (5.00 / 5) (#86)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 04:40:14 PM EST
    political capital in the same place that the Dems have been storing their powder all these years.  In the year 2099, the storage facility will be discovered with all its contents undisturbed.

    pfft (none / 0) (#87)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 04:43:30 PM EST
    maybe they can start storing nuclear waste there since it has held all that capital completely and safely enclosed for so long.

    I should have said (none / 0) (#72)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:37:50 PM EST
    he naively answered a question honestly.
    I think they were completely unprepared for the blowback.

    policy (none / 0) (#98)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 07:51:33 AM EST
    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).

    The DOD can set policy where the law is silent.  However, where there is law, as in this case, the DOD follows that law.  That law was passed bu Congress and signed by president Clinton.

    The point remains the current policy is the law of the land, not a mere DOD internal regulation.


    Again (none / 0) (#100)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 09:42:43 AM EST
    This was a policy way before DADT.  See my post above re: DoD regulation 1334.

    Was then, not now. (none / 0) (#101)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 11:54:01 AM EST
    In the past it was DOD policy and not the law.  However, it is now the law of the land.

    The way-back machine may be interesting and fun, but not when the subject is current status.  


    Yes (none / 0) (#26)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:49:34 PM EST
    So Congress is equally to blame (that would be a DEMOCRATIC Congress).  So why didn't you ask about the Democrats' policy?

    He wrote the law (none / 0) (#51)
    by cawaltz on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 02:59:45 PM EST
    under the advisory of senior personnel in the Defense Department. It wasn't like Clinton woke up one morning and just decided to write the policy.

    I really don't get (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by CST on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:26:18 PM EST
    What is so different between allowing gay/lesbian people in the military, compared to allowing women.  Once you allow women, you lose the right to say people will be uncomfortable due to potential sexual advances.  They certainly don't seem to care about that with regards to the women in the military, so why should it be any different if it is a gay sexual advance as opposed to a hetero sexual advance.  Does allowing women to serve ruin "military discipline and cohesion"?

    This is extremely disappointing and better be old news by 2012.

    the difference (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:29:38 PM EST
    (and this is just a guess based on my knowledge of human nature and men in general) is that the ones being advanced on in the case of gays - at least the ones they are worried about - are men.

    do you remember the BS when DADT was passed?  do you remember Sam Nunn with his pointed head sticking out of a submarine bunk?

    the big strong men are terrified.


    Well, doncha know, (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 02:27:29 PM EST
    men pressuring women is "natural" while the alternative, men pressuring men, is just unbearably perilous.

    Hey, how about we at least let lesbians serve, since they're not going after those men, and in fact, should cause less of a commotion in tight quarters...


    you know what (none / 0) (#37)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 02:29:31 PM EST
    I bet if they could they would

    they would make short work of the Taliban and (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by iceblinkjm on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 02:34:22 PM EST
    AQ given the chance. TOWANDA!

    You still have quite a few men that argue it does (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by cawaltz on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 02:56:05 PM EST
    If some of the boys had it their way, it'd remain a boys club. During my twelve years I heard enough whining about the fact they couldn't have their nudie mags and that women had different physical standards then they did.  

    In actuality I could see that it  might even be easier to argue that it makes more sense to allow homosexuals over allowing female counterparts because at least you aren't faced with a seven pound baby being born in a combat theater(The case this go round)as a result.

    As for Obama, I'm shocked, shocked I say, that a guy who gave a platform to a guy who basically called gay a disease would not come down on the side of gay Americans. Oh wait, no, I'm not.


    I wonder how often (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:30:04 PM EST
    the Bush II administration carried on with cases brought by the Clinton adminstration...and how many were dropped or just not well-argued or somehow otherwise ditched.

    The notion that the Obama administration needs to perpetuated Bush's cases, basically representing the Bush viewpoint is just plain crazy, in my honest opinion.  But I continue to see it done.

    As long as the Leviticus squad (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by jondee on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:44:10 PM EST
    continues to exist as a powerful, well organized constituency with a big "in" with militarists and the military, present arrangements will continue.

    But of course Obama (5.00 / 2) (#73)
    by Spamlet on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:41:31 PM EST
    won no small number of votes in November from center-right Republicans. (And remember "Democrat for a day" during the primaries?) Clearly, Obama's base is not Bush's wingnut 23 percent, but neither does he see his base as progressives, no matter what some people on the left want to believe.

    in its cowardice in the face (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:32:05 PM EST
    of military brass homophobia,  the Obama administration perpetuates the canard that DADT is "rationally related to the government's legitimate interest in military discipline and cohesion."    Never a stitch of serious study, even after 16 years. Of course, no control groups possible since one would have to be ousted as soon as formed.   A scandalous policy that does not exist in any other aspect of government or, in large measure, for that matter,  in the private sector. The military is different it is always claimed and it is true, apparently, but primarily in the U.S. military.  Sam Nunn and Colin Powell, among original architects of DADT, seem to be ahead of Obama on this--and that's not a good sign.

    Time for another West Wing quote! (5.00 / 4) (#18)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:37:34 PM EST
    Major Tate: Sir, we're not prejudiced toward homosexuals.

    Admiral Percy Fitzwallace: You just don't want to see them serving in the Armed Forces?

    Major Tate: No sir, I don't.

    Admiral Percy Fitzwallace: 'Cause they impose a threat to unit discipline and cohesion.

    Major Tate: Yes, sir.

    Admiral Percy Fitzwallace: That's what I think, too. I also think the military wasn't designed to be an instrument of social change.

    Major Tate: Yes, sir.

    Admiral Percy Fitzwallace: The problem with that is that's what they were saying about me 50 years ago - blacks shouldn't serve with whites. It would disrupt the unit. You know what? It did disrupt the unit. The unit got over it. The unit changed. I'm an admiral in the U.S. Navy and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff... Beat that with a stick.

    The late Charles Moskos, (none / 0) (#30)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 02:03:23 PM EST
    professor of military sociology at Northwestern University, advisor to Sam Nunn's Senate Armed Services Committee, and primary author of DADT, debunked the "unit cohesion" argument in 2000, saying the misbegotten  policy would be gone in five to ten years. The thinking of Moskos  was not entirely rehabilitated as he continued to stick to "modesty rights"--separate showers for women, of course, and, of course, for straights and gays.  Maybe, the Obama administration could have updated the rationale to one of the need for shower bailouts.

    Shovel ready project! (5.00 / 4) (#31)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 02:06:27 PM EST
    wasnt (none / 0) (#32)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 02:06:42 PM EST
    Sam Nunn one of the major pushers for and architects of the DADT policy?
    thats how I remember it.

    Sam Nunn and Colin Powell (5.00 / 3) (#53)
    by caseyOR on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:02:38 PM EST
    were the prime leaders of the "gays are icky" in the military coalition. They stabbed Clinton in the back on this issue.

    Clinton was a much better friend to the LGBT community than Obama is. We have DADT because Clinton tried to keep a campaign promise (what an idea) and was attacked by homophobes in the military and in his own party. And, before anyone starts yelping about DOMA, remember, DOMA was the compromise that avoided an amendment to the U.S. constitution that would have outlawed same-sex marriage. Had that amendment gone forth, and in the climate of the '90s I believe it would have been easily ratified by the states, marriage equality would not exist in any state. I hate DOMA and DADT as much as anybody, but they are not evidence of Clinton's capitulation; there are evidence of his political skill and his support of LGBT issues.

    I do not believe Obama will ever put any "skin in the game" for the LGBT community.


    I think Colin Powell (none / 0) (#74)
    by Spamlet on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:46:51 PM EST
    was actually guilty of insubordination on that occasion. Wish Clinton had been able to demote his sorry a$$.

    Have to wonder. Would we have (none / 0) (#75)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:49:00 PM EST
    gone to war in Iraq w/o Powell at UN?

    Yes, imo (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by Spamlet on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:55:51 PM EST
    "We" were going to war against Iraq no matter what. Bush and Cheney would have found another Powell to carry their water. But they didn't have to, since Powell the Craven himself was at the ready with his well-worn bucket. Anyone who thinks Colin Powell's performance at the U.N. was out of character should Google "Colin Powell" and "My Lai."

    Causing me once again to ponder why (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:59:13 PM EST
    the Obama campaign was so enthusiastic to receive Powell's endorsement.

    Let us not assume (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by Steve M on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 04:00:39 PM EST
    that if Clinton had taken action against the very popular Powell, it would have been a death knell for Powell's career at the end of the day.  He likely would have achieved martyrdom and would have been that much more likely to receive a top position in the next administration as a result.

    good question (none / 0) (#77)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:56:13 PM EST
    I have not heard him say much but his Chief of Staff, this guy, has been chattering his head off.
    to hear him tell it they were duped.

    I wonder.  cya?

    he says he prepared most of information for that presentation by Powell and they were given bad information.  he says he is speaking out because he is ashamed and embarrassed by the whole episode.

    but to the question, he sure made the most convincing case of the whole pathetic show didnt he?


    I, too, felt Colin Powell (none / 0) (#83)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 04:26:50 PM EST
    was insubordinate and raised that question, at the time,  in a letter to him. While I did not receive a response from General Powell, I did get a reply from his attorney--I apparently hit a sensitive spot.  I still wish that President Clinton would not have asked Powell to postpone (he accepted) his announced retirement for several months in the face of Powell's blatant actions--but I understand his apparent need to do so.

    Yes, Sam Nunn (D. GA) (none / 0) (#46)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 02:50:32 PM EST
    was chair of the senate armed services committee, and held those  infamous hearings, including tours to demonstrate tight quarters in submarines.  Nunn was hoping to be named Secretary of State in the new Clinton administration, but bumped into gay and other activists who brought up the recent and ill-timed firing of a key Nunn staff member for being gay.  This disappointment at the hands of foes of discrimination apparently did nothing to warm the cockles of his heart, and it was probably payback time--something easy for him to do anyway.  Nunn had a very good ally in the undermining of President Clinton's proposed executive order, Colin Powell, then Chair of the JCC.  Powell, while still in uniform and before his retirement, spoke out against the president's proposed policy, to the extent of urging resistance, during a military academy address.  

    I hope that the next journalist (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by dk on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:39:49 PM EST
    who interviews Obama (or who asks a question of his press secretary at one of the daily briefings) asks this question:

    President Obama, in what way do you think that DADT is "rationally related to the government's legitimate interest in military discipline and cohesion?"

    I just hope I have my popcorn at the ready as listening to that response.


    Possible response: (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:09:33 PM EST
    "Look, as I have said a bunch of times, I am a fierce advocate for gay rights--sometime in the future when the generals on the ground tell me that  unit cohesion is no longer needed in the military."

    Well, that would be (none / 0) (#61)
    by dk on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:15:38 PM EST
    popcorn worthy, if Obama actually admitted that he personally believed that abolishing DADT would destroy unit cohesion.

    Yet the U.S. State Department recently (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:43:47 PM EST
    announced domestic partner protection for persons stationed overseas.  

    as somone who has (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:44:39 PM EST
    spent most of my adult life in major coastal cities I was pretty shocked when I came to the midwest a couple of years ago at how far behind the rest of the country is.  and not just the old guys.  I work with people mostly in the 20s and 30s and homophobia is rampant.  rampant.
    it is open acceptable behavior.  and the recent gay marriage victories in some states honestly have seemed only to make it worse.
    I am pretty fearless.  and fortunately my company is based in California and has a non discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation but it has still been pretty rough.  no physical violence threatened or anything like that but lots and lots of condescension and attitude.
    lucky for me the people I work directly with are pretty cool with it.  I dont think they were at first but I have slowly been bringing them around to the point of view that it is actually cool and progressive to have a gay friend.  I think I am the first person to be pretty much open and out here.  amazingly. even tho there are at least three others I personally know of.  and others I suspect I dont know about.
    its a struggle that wont be won in my lifetime Im afraid.

    One of my motivations for going to (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 02:29:03 PM EST
    my h.s. reunion in the midwest is to see how the tiny no. of class members who are gay (but not "out" during out high school years) have fared.  One stayed in our home town of 30,000.  

    I hear you Capt. (none / 0) (#55)
    by caseyOR on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:07:12 PM EST
    I left my childhood home in central Illinois more than 30 years ago because I knew it was no place for this lesbian to make a life. And when I return to visit my family I see that almost nothing has changed.

    You are in Champaign-Urbana, aren't you? I am a little surprised that the presence of the University of Illinois has not liberalized that area a little at least.


    When I lived in Chicago (none / 0) (#60)
    by Steve M on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:13:37 PM EST
    I had a gay friend, a friend of a friend really, come visit from Madison.  My friend and I thought we would show him a good time by crawling the gay bars on Halsted Street (even though I am straight and so is she).  He was stunned by the nightlife because Madison, for all its vaunted liberalness, apparently had something like one gay bar.  And he was nearly in tears to see gay couples walking down the street hand in hand, without even having to worry about someone giving them dirty looks, just as it ought to be everywhere in a just world.  So I guess even living in a liberal college town isn't good enough (and I assume Madison is more liberal than Champaign).

    A funny story from that night, by the way.  We're hanging out in one gay bar and I mutter to my female friend, "You know, I'm having a good time, but it wouldn't hurt if there were at least some women in here for me to look at."  And she says, "You think you have it rough?  Here I am, in this bar absolutely jam-packed with hot guys, and not one of them will look at me!"


    There's a reason lesbians and gay men (none / 0) (#64)
    by caseyOR on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:20:07 PM EST
    have always flocked to the big cities. There is both the anonymity of the city and the whole "safety in numbers" thing. Although, to be fair, big cities also harbor homophobes and gay-bashers.

    safety (none / 0) (#66)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:22:54 PM EST
    in numbers.  it doesnt bother me much.  I have been, as I recently told one of my managers who happens to be a lesbian, in much more hostile working environments.

    this isnt really that bad.  maybe I make it sound worse than it is.  its just that for such a young company and such a hot/hip field of work it was surprising at least to me the extent to which it is accepted behaviour.


    Here in NYC (none / 0) (#68)
    by Steve M on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:27:19 PM EST
    I get a big kick out of, for example, fliers from my state senator boasting about how he marched in the gay pride parade last month.  It's nice to live somewhere where that's the sort of thing politicians boast about when they're in the mood to pander.

    The Midwest does get a little bit of a bad rap, though.  Growing up in Michigan we had gay friends of the family and I never saw them having a problem getting accepted by anyone (although I'm sure they must have run into difficulties, like anyone).  One of my gay friends from law school lives in the Detroit area and he seems to have no complaints.  But of course I understand why people would prefer comfort level of the big cities.

    The other day on MyDD there was a thread about Nancy Pelosi doing a fundraiser in Iowa, with the GOP lobbing the typical barbs about her San Francisco values and so on.  Someone pointed out that as a supporter of gay marriage, Nancy Pelosi is actually more in step with Iowa than with California.


    OT, but did you see our St Sen just flipped? (none / 0) (#80)
    by nycstray on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 04:01:35 PM EST
    Indeed (none / 0) (#82)
    by Steve M on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 04:25:22 PM EST
    although they tell me it may have more to do with the budget crisis, with gay marriage being something of a red herring in the discussion.  But hey, who knows, it's a dysfunctional state government no matter how you slice it.

    Yeah, and the two Dems who caused the flip are (none / 0) (#95)
    by jawbone on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 11:27:50 PM EST
    saying they're going to stay in the Democratic Party. Bcz they don't want to have run as Repubs against real Dems?

    This is just terrible.


    Oh, I don't know (none / 0) (#62)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:17:29 PM EST
    Those crazy Midwesterners who want you to buy (gasp) American cars because they make them, started offering domestic partner benefits in 2000.

    my company (none / 0) (#65)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:20:08 PM EST
    offers domestic partner benefits.

    Champaign-Urbana, yes (none / 0) (#63)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:19:21 PM EST
    well thats where I work.  I live in a tiny town nearby.
    its sort of odd.  they think they are progressive and if asked about it, and honestly I think even to vote on it, many of them might be on my side.
    its just in practice, where the rubber hits the road, where it gets complicated.

    theory as opposed to fact I guess.

    there is a gay bar here. and a pretty popular one I guess.  lots of straight people go there.

    I think its a boys club thing.  this company is a boys club.


    Whatever happened to (5.00 / 3) (#33)
    by oldpro on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 02:25:34 PM EST
    the national security argument?  All those multi-lingual Farsi speakers who were fired, leaving us vulnerable re intelligence gathering, etc.  Why isn't that being shouted from the rooftops?  If true, it was the perfect reason/perfect timing for Obama to change the policy to protect the country.

    The whole damn thing is absurd on its face.  Ignorance and stupidity reign supreme.  

    Who was it sho said "You can't fix stupid?"

    whats a little national security (5.00 / 3) (#35)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 02:28:39 PM EST
    compared to the possibility of shower peeping

    Nothing will change (none / 0) (#42)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 02:40:23 PM EST
    until progressives stand up for gay rights. Individual military commanders don't mind a bit when they fire the gays. It's not their money being thrown away, it's ours.

    It took political action by white America to ensure equality for blacks. After fifty years of women protesting, going to jail, even being killed in the pursuit of women's suffrage, states finally gave women the right to vote when it was politically expedient for men. In the dame vein, unless straight America demands change, Obama and Congress aren't going to bother dealing with gay rights. Unfortunately, too many heterosexuals are still so uncomfortable with gay men that the most they can muster is "tolerance." Nobody's out there demanding equal rights for gay citizens except the small gay minority itself, and a few relatives and friends. Our powerful political groups like MoveOn, Democracy for America, TrueMajority and even the Dem Party itself are not prioritizing this because the public isn't asking them to.

    If you want Obama to fix this problem, start demanding it.


    You're not only almost right, (5.00 / 0) (#67)
    by oldpro on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:26:17 PM EST
    you're also not quite wrong.

    Actually, I never expected Obama to follow though on any of his campaign promises...so I didn't vote for him.  Turns out, so far, I was more right than wrong about the issues I care about.

    Yes, it "took political action by white America to ensure equality for blacks" but only after blacks forced their hand.  Gays in and out of the military aren't doing that...and they should be.  They should be as impossible to ignore as blacks in the 60s.

    Even more complicated for women.  We never did get the ERA passed, you know.  So we focused on affirmative action and filled up the law schools instead.


    LGBT citizens are not going to (none / 0) (#84)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 04:29:34 PM EST
    do what the Black Panthers did. And there simply aren't enough gays to create a strong voting block. Homosexuals are at most only ten percent of the population, with many of them in hiding, others politically clueless, and some who put monetary gain over equality (cough, Log Cabin Republicans). All of which means they aren't going to be able to effect change by themselves. Gays don't have huge church communication channels like African Americans did. All black Americans are seen as black, even those who are more than half Caucasian, which means there is and was a larger pool of people demanding equality. Blacks can't hide their skin color, but many, many lesbians and gays have gotten married to fit in with society and family expectations. Finally, there's no historical movement for gay equality. Individual lesbians and gays were killed by the millions by the Catholic Church, the Nazis and others. However, ancestors of lesbian and gays are not a group of people who have been discriminated against, they're just straight people, some of whom actually reject their own children and deny them family support. When LGBT people hide who they are, they aren't oppressed and attacked for who they are.

    Last week in Cairo President Obama said: "For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America's founding."

    Well, LGBT citizens have been peacefully insisting our country live up to it's founders ideals for half a century in public, and much longer in their private lives. Gays have aggressively demanded equality starting with the Stonewall riots in 1969 protesting NYC police raids. Today, same sex couples put their personal lives up for public scrutiny every day as they work for marriage equality. All of this incredibly brave work is done by gays and lesbians in spite of the fact that murderers and violent attackers deliberately and routinely target gays. Lesbian and gay parents even risk their children by coming out of the closet in their communities. There is a personal and political cost to same sex families, including the emotional and monetary costs of fighting anti-gay legislation like Prop. 8 in CA.

    There really is not much more that LGBT citizens can do. At this point, it really is up to straight America to demand change. Hopefully, the Dem Party will realize how this issue is used against our politicians and decide to eliminate it by granting equality at the federal level and telling states to do what they want, but those that allow gay marriage will get federal benefits for their citizens.


    "what the Black Panthers did" (none / 0) (#85)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 04:38:29 PM EST
    you are probably right but I was surprised how effective the ACTUP movement was in the 80s at bringing attention to the AIDS crisis.

    I was friends with a guy who handcuffed himself to Robert McNeil during a protest once.  their tactics were looked down on at the time even by many gays but sometimes you just have to act up.


    How wrong I think you are. (none / 0) (#88)
    by oldpro on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 05:02:30 PM EST
    No one ever achieved any civil or human rights by waiting for someone else to 'give them to them' because it was right.  If you wait for the straight community, no matter what the reason, you will never gain your rights.

    Not much more the LGBT community can do?  Well then, give up I guess.  But I can think of at least one strategic thing to do about gays in the military and it wouldn't be that hard to do...you've heard of sit-ins?  You've heard of the Pentagon?  You've heard of the war on terror?  For some unknown reason, this issue is pretty much being ignored by the LGBT and all the focus is on gay marriage.  Politically, not wise in my view.


    Who's giving up? (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 05:55:21 PM EST
    Everything you said and more is already being done by LGBTs. I've personally spent my entire life working for equality, and the political action I've taken ranges from writing elected officials and public speaking to mobilizing voters and even illegal acts during protests (ACT UP). It's not enough. The history of women's suffrage is particularly painful to me because so many women who dedicated their lives to creating change died before women were given the right to vote. And there it is - they were eventually given suffrage. Of course their brave work was essential, but in the end the men who graciously allowed women to vote did so when it became politically expedient to do so. I think Obama will do nothing until he is forced to, and the best way to make that happen is to mobilize straight America and our major political groups to demand it.

    Personally, I'm less interested in fighting DADT because I think the monetary cost speaks for itself. Obama will eventually take a hit for this from mainstream Americans who are struggling financially and think he's just stoopid to allow this waste. It's not like those translators are living in tight quarters on a ship with straight men. Nor was the pilot Lt. Col. Fehrenbach. The ship bunk issue is nonsense. Or it could be handled the way military women are. Just don't let them go into combat or bunk with the guys.

    But I do think it's easier to make the case that children of same sex couples are illegally discriminated against by our government when their families can't benefit from marital rights, especially at the federal level (Social Security, taxes, private retirement benefits and inheritance). On a personal level, I'm more concerned about the rights of my presumably heterosexual kids than about gays in the military.

    I'm also very invested in achieving marriage equality because I'd like to see LGBT youth strive for stable relationships. Marriage supports that, both financially and socially. It's a formalization of the relationship with expectations of fidelity and a commitment not just by the couple, but by those who support the relationship itself. When your family and friends expect you to choose a partner wisely and work to maintain that relationship, you take the decisions more seriously yourself. When children are involved, it becomes even more important that society and families have marriage expectations of same sex couples.

    But in the end, I think Obama has a chance to use a stop loss order to permanently change the military's discrimination. He's not taking that opportunity, but
    not enough people are angry about it. Marriage equality can easily be achieved by public pressure on congress critters from states that allow gay marriage. Again, it takes more than just LGBT voters pressuring them. Those states can force the federal government to acknowledge their new marriages and civil unions, and it won't matter so much if someone lives in a state that forbids their marriage, they can just get married in a state where it's legal. Most of the benefits are at the federal level anyway, and over time people will permanently migrate. When companies can't keep gay employees in those anti-gay states, those states will start to change. In the meantime, it's going to take more than just LGBT citizens demanding change. It's up to straight America to do more than just tolerate their gay neighbors, but instead, start demanding equality just because it's the right thing to do.


    Whew. Uncle. n/t (none / 0) (#93)
    by oldpro on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 07:44:21 PM EST
    Ron White. n/t (none / 0) (#81)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 04:20:30 PM EST
    Many thanks! n/t (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by oldpro on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 05:04:46 PM EST
    1993 RAND study on gays in military (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by good grief on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 07:51:26 PM EST
    Has anybody on this thread heard of this report? 508 pages, cost 1.3 million, commissioned by Clinton via SecDef Aspin; comprehensively covered multiple militaries worldwide plus US fire and police depts; and concluded -- yep -- gays can be integrated successfully in the US military. Yet it was never mentioned in the Sam Nunn hearings at that time nor in newsmedia.

    Today's AP story quoted the legal team spokeman for former Army Capt. James Pietrangelo as saying, "There are no objective studies showing unit cohesion, morale and order are harmed by openly gay people." No reference was made to objective studies showing unit cohesion, moral and order were not harmed by openly gay people. But the RAND study did -- in spades. RAND was (and remains) one of the Pentagon's fave think-tanks. Copy of study can be ordered from RAND in Santa Monica ($100).

    It's perfectly fascinating to read and provides a rock-solid objective foundation to the debate instead of relying upon emotion, religious beliefs and other subjectives. Anybody hear about it? Recall when and where? It's a small mystery I'm tracking as an under-reported story.

    Well, (none / 0) (#2)
    by bocajeff on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 12:18:02 PM EST
    I think this policy will end during the Obama years but he's being deliberate in order to preserve political capital for other endeavors. I wonder if he would be this deliberate if it was a policy about women or minorities...

    This just isn't an issue with him (5.00 / 6) (#3)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 12:20:39 PM EST
    Never was.  Never will be.

    That just begs the question . . . (5.00 / 8) (#4)
    by nycstray on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 12:28:06 PM EST
    What is an issue with him?

    I'm fairly certain it isn't women either.


    Basketball (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 12:44:58 PM EST
    Seriously - I was going to put that very comment, but I thought I would be nice.

    AP analysis (see Huff Post): (none / 0) (#20)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:42:08 PM EST
    President Obama faces the worst problems evah. Give the man a break already!  [snk.]

    Sorry (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:48:05 PM EST
    What was I thinking?  I KNOW he's busy - He's too busy issuing military orders to shave Stephen Colbert's head

    Agree (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by bocajeff on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:56:31 PM EST
    How hard would it be to get this done if he really wanted to do it?

    I got that wrong. AP headline (none / 0) (#29)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:58:23 PM EST
    (see sidebar on TL):  Obama's woes no match for  other presidents [sic].  link

    I think you are right about that! (none / 0) (#91)
    by hairspray on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:07:30 PM EST
    If Obama sees women's lives as important he would have spoke out after the death of Dr. Tiller. If he had spoken forcefully about these terrorists and hate speech and medical necessity instead of wishy washy " an issue we disagree on" I could have believed he could be counted on.  If Sonja Sotomayer turns out to be anti-choice it will be a disaster for the country.  I support her qualifications and her life story, but if she as a Catholic votes to limit abortion any more than it is now, we will have a mess on our hands.

    Uh has the conscience clause been actually (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by cawaltz on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 02:57:57 PM EST
    been overturned? Did he not appoint an anti choice liason to HHS faith based liason? The answer to whether he'd be willing to place women under the bus is a resounding YES.

    Willing to? (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by nycstray on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 03:04:06 PM EST
    Hell, we've been under for a long time. Luckily, I staked out a comfy spot surrounded by other good folks under da bus.

    Who's policy? (none / 0) (#6)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:01:36 PM EST
    The Supreme Court today rejected a challenge to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

    In 1993, President Bill Clinton established the policy ...


    Why do choose to describe president Clinton's policy as the military's policy?  

    Because it was. That is why! (none / 0) (#92)
    by hairspray on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:09:20 PM EST
    "or marry or attempt to marry" (none / 0) (#9)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:16:43 PM EST
    hard to see how they keep making this argument as more and more states allow gay marriage.

    disappointing.  I wonder if Sonya would have had an effect on this one way or another.  do all the justices get a say in what is and is not heard?

    Each Justice has a vote on (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:20:04 PM EST
    whether to grant or deny cert.

    4 of the 9 (none / 0) (#12)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:24:34 PM EST
    Justices have to agree to hear a case (or "grant certorari")

    Figure they get thousands of applications and hear only around 100 cases a year, so it's pretty difficult to make the cut.  There usually has to be a lower court decision that was wrong in light of other Supreme Court positions, or the circuits have to be in conflict with one another.  Even then, it isn't a guarantee.


    probably (none / 0) (#16)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:30:40 PM EST
    it also has to have a chance of being reversed?
    this probably would not have Im guessing.  unfortunately.

    So cowardly (none / 0) (#11)
    by Dadler on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:22:42 PM EST
    The longer we put this off the longer the old prejudices and paradigms keep the military from evolving as it MUST in a democratic nation.  And that lack of evolution, ultimately, means it will never acheive its potential -- which is especially disturbing in a world where more tolerance and cultural awareness are desperately needed in and out of the military.  This does nothing but essentially rationalize certain hate crimes in the military.

    Disappointing (none / 0) (#99)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 09:08:34 AM EST
    The military is not a democracy.  The president says how it is and that's how it is.  Seriously, homophobe soldiers are not going to throw down their weapons in war zones or run through the streets screaming on brink of suicide...they'll deal with it.  They deal with traveling all over the world and being shot at and shooting back, they deal with wearing the same outfit everyday, they deal with bathroom breaks with no bathroom (sorry but I can't deal with that!) lots of them even dealt with being lied to and no WMDs and decided that the country as a whole was worth sticking Bush out for.  Feck, the only people who really can't deal with this are a bunch of candyasses sitting in the Pentagon and Obama.  Anyhow, the fact that the a woman in the military makes the same wage as the dude.....that has been a terrific equalizer to get to see up close and personal.  I could never have been a soldier, but for the women who are....there are many who are mothers and they build a quality life of the same quality for their kids as the dude standing next to them does.  They don't need a man to survive, just their god granted skills, talents, and determination.  We could give that to gays too but the world would apparently explode or something!