by Peter Sprigg
September 20, 2012
September 20 marks the one-year anniversary of the final repeal of the law against homosexuals serving in the military. The 1993 law, usually referred to by the name of the Clinton Administration policy that implemented it (Dont Ask, Dont Tell, or DADT), had codified a policy that existed since the American Revolution.
Advocates of repeal are declaring that the warnings of its opponents, such as Family Research Council, have been proven to be unfounded. The Palm Center, a pro-homosexual think tank based at UCLA, issued a report saying, The repeal of DADT has had no overall negative impact on military readiness.
Since the Palm Centers mission is to serve the needs of the homosexual movement, such a conclusion on their part was inevitable. However, they managed to bury the most important finding in a footnote (no. 24, p. 46). Citing a Military Times survey from January 2012, they noted:
Of 792 active-duty service members and mobilized reservists who completed the survey, 150 (18.9%) indicated that since DADT was repealed, someone in their units disclosed being gay or bisexual. Of those, 32 (21.3%) said that the disclosure had a negative impact on their units. In addition, 36 (4.5%) reported that since DADT was repealed, an openly gay or bisexual person joined their units. Of those, 12 (33.3%) said that the newcomer had a negative impact on their units.
Since eight servicemembers reported harm from both circumstances (a homosexual coming out and one joining their unit), a total of 36 separate individuals reported such harm. The Palm Center chose to emphasize that this was only 4.5% of all those surveyedfailing to mention that it represents twenty percent of those who had a homosexual come out or join their unit. Twenty percent represents a significant risk of harm for the units involvedmerely to advance the goals of the sexual revolution. Damage to good order, discipline, morale, and unit cohesion need not be universal to be unacceptable.
In the same Military Times survey, 8.4% of respondents said that repeal made them less likely to remain in the military, while only 3.3% said it would make them more likely to remain.
The Palm Center report almost completely ignores the most significant harms that have become immediately apparent in the first year since repeal. Predictions that the use of the military to advance a radical social/sexual agenda would place us on a slippery slope have clearly come true. Furthermore, assurances given in the November 2010 report of the Pentagons Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG) regarding the limited impact of repeal have not been fulfilled. Since the CRWG report was to a large extent the basis for the Congressional vote for repeal in December of 2010, it can even be argued that repeal was adopted under false pretenses.
For example, the CRWG report paid lip service to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman for all purposes under federal law), and did not recommend any redefinition of family or extension of spousal benefits to the partners of homosexuals. Yet only a month after repeal, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network filed a lawsuit on behalf of several homosexuals currently in the military, seeking to strike down DOMA and win spousal benefits for homosexual partners.
In addition, only ten days after repeal took effect, the Pentagon issued a directive allowing military chaplains to perform same-sex weddings or commitment ceremonies, even on military installationsa clear violation of DOMA. One such ceremony was performed at Fort Polk in Louisianaeven though same-sex marriage is barred by that states constitution. The Pentagon memo forced the Roman Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services to quickly clarify that no Catholic chapelsuch as the one at West Pointcould be used for such ceremonies under any circumstances.
The marriage issue illustrates another key harm from repealthe threat to the religious liberty. The CRWG report said that those who are opposed to open service on well-founded moral or religious grounds should be assured that their views and beliefs are not rejected, adding that we cannot and should not expect individual Service members to change their personal religious or moral beliefs about homosexuality. Yet the Palm Center reports cases in which statements disapproving of homosexuality were squelched with phrases like, their conduct improved, they were willing to be professional, and he quickly backed down. This suggests that the dont tell mandate has now been shifted to those who disapprove of homosexual conduct.
The Pentagon also reported in 2010, We believe that it is not necessary to establish an extensive set of new or revised standards of conduct in the event of repeal. Yet efforts have proceeded to also repeal outright Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justicethe provision outlawing sodomy in the militaryeven though this crime has continued to be regularly prosecuted. Only after Family Research Council pointed out that such a repeal could legalize bestiality as well as sodomy did Congress back offfor nowon that plan.
HasAmericas military completely collapsed in the first year after repeal? Of course notour servicemembers are too professional to allow that to happen. The military is clearly being used, however, to advance a radical sexual and social agenda. The Palm Center cited one individual who stated that repeal will help facilitate the slow cultural change towards greater acceptance of homosexuality.
The purpose of our armed forces, however, is not to facilitate cultural change. It is to fight and win wars. By demanding that it do more than that, homosexual activists have undermined the single-minded focus that is necessary for military effectiveness.