The defense of our nation is a most noble cause, one which should command great respect for those whom choose to take up that cause, with great sacrifice of and risk to themselves . Among other things such as time with family and friends and the creature comforts of home, military service requires that you give up some, some, of your individuality and even some of your freedoms, all in order to dedicate yourself to a unique code of conduct that is designed to enhance survival of ones self and their fellow service members. But amid all these sacrifices, a soldier should not have to sacrifice who they are and live under the added pressure of fear that they will be found out to be gay.
The necessary sacrifices that our men and women who serve in the armed forces make, are done so with a sense of responsibility to this nation and all that represents. That representation includes equality, something which clearly does not exist in the military. Yet the blood that a gay person sheds for their nation is just as red as the next person, and the pain and anguish suffered on the field of battle is just as intense for a homosexual as it is for a heterosexual.
But for some reason the military and many elected officials refuse to acknowledge these facts. Instead they choose to treat gays in the military as second class citizens.
This is not acceptable. It is not the type of treatment and respect that someone who serves our nation deserves.
Much of the opposition to gays in the military stems from the premise that homosexuals will create discomfort upon fellow troops and threaten unit cohesiveness. Proponents of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy that Republicans refused to repeal, claim that the existence of openly homosexual service members can lead to apprehension and resentment in units, and ultimately threaten military readiness and morale.
Opponents like myself claim that if a man or woman is brave enough to face down the enemy in combat, they should have the courage to stand in defense of this nation by the side of a fellow American who just happens to be gay.
Military service has little to do with sexual activity. In fact, sexual activity is shunned and not allowed on bases while serving on active duty. That fact should be enough to alleviate any concerns about homosexuality. But in addition to that, the DADT compromise is not working. Even former President Clinton, the architect of the 1993 compromise, has admitted that the policy is “out of whack” and “Isn’t working as it should”. Since DADT was enacted, discharges of gay and lesbian troops have increased by 67 %. Much of this has had to do with voluntary declarations of homosexuality, as an increasing number of homosexuals in the military have begin to challenge the policy by openly declaring their sexual preference. And some of the high average also has to do with sinister motives which allow rivalries to turn into accusations made by fellow soldiers who take advantage of the DADT policy by using it to make false charges.
Then there is the fact that our armed forces face recruitment shortages, and by discharging homosexual service members in large numbers, they are losing men and women who are ready to serve our nation.
None of this is helping our nation’s cause.
For that reason, I regret the filibuster which would have overturned Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.. And while I know that my Party, the Republican Party, is being described as the leaders of the filibuster against DADT, there are several corrections that need to be made.
The vote to end the filibuster including, several Democrat votes such as Pryor and Lincoln. It is also important to understand the real reason behind the filibuster. which was not based solely on DADT. Much of it was based on the fact that Democrats played a political game. Harry Reid decided to attach repeal of DADT and his immigration proposal called the Dream Act to a defense authorization bill.
For their part, before Republicans could debate the merits of either bill, they argued that neither bill had anything to do with a vote on defense appropriations. And they were right.
If Democrats were at all sincere about their supposed efforts on behalf of the gay community, they would have made the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell a standalone bill that would have been debated on its own merits. Instead Democrats under, Harry Reid, decided once again to exploit gay men and women by turning DADT into a wedge issue in the upcoming midterm elections. Rather than actually stand behind repealing DADT, Democrats simply created a scenario that forced the GOP to mount a filibuster more against process than any issue. In turn the Democrat plan is to motivate gays to come out in November and vote against Republicans for what they will describe as a vote against homosexual rights.
Hopefully the homosexual community will have the intelligence to understand that while they may not have benefited from Republican action on the issue of DADT, they were actually used by Democrats who decided to exploit their political naivety and sacrifice gay rights in the military for electoral power in November.