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24 June 2012

Praise: Pentagon and Pride 2012

This weekend is seeing the Pride Parades in New York, Chicago, and elsewhere.  But this is the first year that LGBTQ military do not have to hide their nature during Pride.  When I received my Honorable Discharge from the U.S. Navy, over a quarter of a century ago, I never expected that future sailors might serve and be open about who they are.

Then, President Obama and the Congress repealed Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  Still, problems were anticipated by many.  According to the Stars and Stripes, there have been no significant problems with the repeal.  Even the Republican Chair of the House Armed Services Committee agrees.
The Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said Thursday that allowing gays to serve openly in the military is a settled issue that he won't try to reverse even if Mitt Romney wins the presidency in November and the GOP captures the Senate.
Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon of California said his focus is on restoring money for the military after the latest round of defense cuts - a planned reduction of $487 billion over 10 years that could nearly double if Congress fails to avert automatic, across-the-board cuts that begin in January. Pressed on the divisive issue of gay rights that roiled Congress two years ago, McKeon said he wouldn't revisit it.
"We fought that fight," McKeon told defense reporters at an hourlong breakfast interview. He said his goal is to "get the things that our war-fighters need."
"A settled issue" is strong language in the legislature.  It is also a settled issue for those who serve today.
The military advocacy group Blue Star Families based in Washington said Friday that its survey of more than 4,000 families found no significant issues arising from the recent repeal.
Respondents reported no perceived effect on morale, national security or the desire for service members to re-enlist.
Seventy-two percent of respondents said it had no effect on their service member's ability to do his or her job, 65 percent said it had no effect on the desire to re-enlist or stay in the military, and 60 percent said it had no effect on morale.
Fifty-six percent said it had no impact on mission readiness or national security, and 55 percent of spouses said it had no impact on their military support group's morale.
The full survey report is available at
The icing on the cake is the Pentagon's recognition of Pride Month.
The Pentagon has declined to give details of the event that it will organise as part of pride month. But it is certain to involve the saluting of gay and lesbian troops, in an echo of how African American and other ethnic groups are celebrated at different times in the annual calendar.
The event will be the latest in the rolling out of the new tolerance within the military. Don't ask, don't tell, which was introduced under President Clinton in 1993, forced the discharge of more than 13,000 men and women sacked for revealing their sexual orientation.
The impressively rapid shift in culture has been evident in other ways. OutServe, the association of actively serving LGBT military personnel in which Seefried is a co-director, has grown rapidly since the repeal last September.
Equality is still a work in progress in the United States.  My partner and I are not equal to heterosexual couples.  But, today is a great day to cheer the major accomplishments of the last few years.  Happy Pride!

26 June 2012, FollowUp 1.

1 comment:

  1. This is avery interesting development. One fo the last bastions are falling.


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