Thursday, December 16, 2010

Foes of Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal getting desperate

Posted By on Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 12:15 PM

The House voted 250-175 yesterday to repeal the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy. After the Senate last week rejected a DADT repeal, as part of an overall defense appropriation bill, the House re-framed the issue, making repeal a new, stand-alone bill; that bill is the one that passed the House yesterday. Votes in favor of repeal included 15 Republicans, a 10-vote increase from the previous House vote on the matter. Now, the bill goes to the Senate, where supporters are cautiously optimistic it can be passed. Some Republican senators, including Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Dick Lugar of Indiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Olympia Snowe of Maine have indicated they may vote for repeal this time around.

The tide of public opinion has certainly turned in favor of letting gay men and lesbians serve openly in the military; however, it’s still unclear whether the Senate is capable of facing up to how much Americans’ views on the subject have changed. Last month’s Pentagon report made clear that, for an enormous majority of active duty service members, it’s simply irrelevant whether another soldier is gay or not. In addition, Defense Secretary Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have repeatedly given their support to repealing DADT. Gen. David Petraeus also fully supports getting rid of DADT; and last week, Petraeus’ top aide, Marvin Hill, told reporters that if some troops can’t deal with serving with gays, they should leave the service.

Frankly, at this point in the long DADT debate, you have to wonder, as did Jason Linkins of Huffington Post, exactly who is still in favor of keeping DADT? Linkins pointed to an extensive Washington Post/ABC News poll, which shows 77 percent of Americans in favor of repealing DADT; what’s startling about the poll is that support for repeal cuts across nearly all political and social lines. Liberal Democrats? 92 percent in favor of repealing DADT. Conservative Republicans? 67 percent in favor. Independents: 74 percent. White Evangelicals: 70 percent. Those with “no religion”: 84 percent.

So, really, who’s against it? Well, let’s see, there’s John “I’ll let the military decide” McCain, who has dug in his anti-gay heels on the issue; there’s Texas congressman/cartoon-character Louie “Terror Babies” Gohmert, who said yesterday that the Pentagon report’s results were rigged, and warned that repealing DADT would be a threat to the nation’s very existence. Of course, we can add many members of the so-called Christian Right, who will forever be enamored of their Leave It To Beaver fantasy of American life. And then there’s Marine Commandant General James Amos, who argued before Congress that Marines in combat could be so distracted by the fact that the soldier next to them was gay, they could forget about all those enemy bombs exploding around them and lose their lives. Ridiculous arguments like Amos’ and Gohmert’s, and McCain’s brand of intransigent fear of homosexuality, are all that opponents of DADT repeal have left. And yet, the chances for repeal are still up in the air in the Senate? That’s the most outrageous part of the whole debate.

Enjoy this video of Rep. Gohmert railing against DADT repeal; at around the 50 second mark, he unleashes a stunningly ignorant tirade about what happens to countries that allow gays to serve openly in the military. Gohmert, apparently, has never heard of present-day Israel, nor the ancient Spartans.

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