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22 November 2011

Praise: Capt. Stephen Hill and the US Army

Back on 22 September, Captain Stephen Hill was booed at the Republican debate when he identified himself as a gay soldier and asked about future policies since Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) was repealed.  Shamefully, none of the Republicans on stage said a word about an Army soldier in uniform serving on foreign soil being booed.  The failure to stand up to the audience was unAmerican.

Captain Hill has returned to Ohio from serving a year in Iraq.  Several days ago he was interviewed by the Associated Press.  There are a couple of things that are notable about this interview.  First is the reaction of the Army that day..
At breakfast later that morning, the segment was playing on the chow hall television. Hill immediately tracked down his commander, who told him she had no problem with what he'd done but that she would need to run it up the chain of command. She later relayed the response.
"She said, 'What the military's most concerned with is that you are OK, because it's a lot of pressure on you and we want to make sure if there is anything we can do to help,'" he recalled.
The Army takes care of its own.  Captain Hill serves proudly and is one of the Army's own.  The response from his commander does not surprise me.  Nonetheless, the US Army's position so soon after the repeal of DADT is commendable.

The second is the concern that Captain Hill had at the time of his question, not for himself but for his husband.

He wasn't worried that his debate question, posed via a YouTube video recorded in Iraq, would generate boos or reveal his sexual orientation to millions of people, including his superiors and fellow troops.
All Hill was thinking about in September was his husband of four-and-a-half months, Joshua Snyder, in Columbus, Ohio.
What opponents of equality don't want to acknowledge is that homosexual relationships, just like heterosexual relationships, are about love and commitment.  Normal humans, like Captain Hill, care about their loved ones.

The last is that Captain Hill is a leader in the fight for equality on a number of fronts.
Snyder and Hill last month joined other same-sex military couples in suing the government for the same benefits as straight military couples, which the Pentagon denies them on grounds that federal law defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
"This is not about sex," Hill said. "A special privilege is not hiding pictures in my house or God forbid, taking mortar fire again and not knowing if Josh will be recognized. I'm fighting every day to protect everyone's rights as human beings, and it seems counterintuitive for me to be fighting for those rights and not have them."

Well said, Captain Hill.  He is an American hero.

Thanks to Care2 for the heads up.

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