Personal tools
 
Views

Debate: Gays in the US military

From Debatepedia

Jump to: navigation, search
[Digg]
[reddit]
[Delicious]
[Facebook]

Should gays be allowed to serve openly in the US military? Is "don't ask don't tell" bad policy?

Background and context

There is significant debate in the United States as to whether gays should be allowed to serve openly in the US military. The current policy of "Don't Ask Don't tell", signed into law in 1993 under the Clinton administration, does not allow it. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" authorizes the discharge of an American soldier for coming out as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
Unless one of the exceptions to the law applies, the policy prohibits anyone who "demonstrate(s) a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" from serving in the armed forces of the United States, because it "would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability." The act prohibits any homosexual or bisexual person from disclosing his or her sexual orientation or from speaking about any homosexual relationships, including marriages or other familial attributes, while serving in the United States armed forces. The "don't ask" part of the policy indicates that superiors should not initiate investigation of a servicemember's orientation in the absence of disallowed behaviors, though mere suspicion of homosexual behavior can cause an investigation. While President Bush was supportive of "Don't Ask Don't Tell", President Barack Obama promised to lift the policy and allow gays to serve openly in the United States military. This has reinvigorated the debate, which has drawn international attention, as other militaries and governments around the world grapple with similar questions.

See Wikipedia's article on "Don't ask don't tell" for greater background.

Contents

[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]

Military readiness: Does "don't ask don't tell" generally harm or help military readiness?

[Add New]

Pro

  • Gays do not undermine military readiness Former Senator and Secretary of Defense William Cohen spoke against the policy publicly in early January 2007: "I now believe that if gay men and lesbians served openly in the United States military, they would not undermine the efficacy of the armed forces."[1]
[Add New]

Con

  • Gays in the military would harm military leadership. Gays in the military would adversely affect the chain of command in the military, as certain relationships would become less trustworthy and tensions would undermine the authority of leaders and the willingness of troops to follow.
  • Military should not end "don't ask don't tell" during war "EDITORIAL: Please don't ask again." Washington Times. October 13, 2009: "The most recent Military Times survey showed that 58 percent of military respondents oppose a policy change, and 24 percent said they would either leave the military (10 percent) or consider terminating their careers after serving their tours of duty (14 percent). [...] the White House isn't close to having military support for ending 'don't ask, don't tell.' The Obama team could be justifiably concerned that pushing change would be seen as a dangerous distraction at a time when the president is having difficulty formulating a strategy for the war in Afghanistan."
[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Troop morale: Does "don't ask don't tell" harm or help troop morale, unit cohesion?

[Add New]

Pro

  • Gay soldiers do not undermine unit morale and cohesion A 2006 Zogby International poll of military members found that 72% of respondents who had experience with gays or lesbians in their unit said that the presence of gay or lesbian unit members had either no impact or a positive impact on their personal morale, while 67% said as much for overall unit morale. 73% of respondents said that they felt comfortable in the presence of gay and lesbian personnel.[3]
  • Professional troops can work with gays and focus on mission The argument that the presence of gay troops will undermine morale and unit cohesion is premised on the idea that US troops are unable to handle their emotions and maintain their professional focus in the presence of gay peers. This is an insult to the professionalism of US soldiers. As the Rand Corporation concluded in a 2000 brief on the topic: "it is not necessary to like someone to work with him or her, so long as members share a commitment to the group’s objectives."[4]
  • It would strenghten relations Gay relations, especially inside a hardened place like the military could be beneficial. In some ways, this could be analogous to the benefits of having women around men as a means of maintaining decorum. It would also strengthen honesty and trust between fellow soldiers, as gays would no longer have to lie about their sexuality.
  • Armies globally show viability of gays serving openly Om Prakash. "The Efficacy of Don't Ask Don't Tell." Winning essay of the 2009 Secretary of Defense National Security Essay Competition: "There are potential lessons to learn from other countries that have lifted the ban on homosexuals serving openly. There was no mass exodus of heterosexuals, and there was also no mass “coming-out” of homosexuals. Prior to lifting their bans, in Canada 62 percent of servicemen stated that they would refuse to share showers with a gay soldier, and in the United Kingdom, two-thirds of males stated that they would not willingly serve in the military if gays were allowed. In both cases, after lifting their bans, the result was 'no-effect.'44 In a survey of over 100 experts from Australia, Canada, Israel, and the United Kingdom, it was found that all agreed the decision to lift the ban on homosexuals had no impact on military performance, readiness, cohesion, or ability to recruit or retain, nor did it increase the HIV rate among troops."
[Add New]

Con

  • Gays in the military undermine unit cohesion and morale The "Don't ask, don't tell" law (Federal law Pub.L. 103-160 [10 U.S.C. § 654].) prohibits anyone who "demonstrate(s) a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts' from serving in the armed forces of the United States, for the following central reason: "One of the most critical elements in combat capability is unit cohesion, that is, the bonds of trust among individual service members that make the combat effectiveness of a military unit greater than the sum of the combat effectiveness of the individual unit members. . . . The presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability."[5]
  • Minority of troop discomfort with gays is enough to damage cohesion. The 2006 Zogby poll that cites a majority of US troops expressing comfort with gay troops, also shows a sizable minority of nearly 28% expressing that the presence of gay troops damaged their morale. Such an opposition, albeit in the minority, certainly suggests that the open presence of gays in the military will, overall, undermine troop morale and cohesion, by alienating this minority and creating a rift between it and the majority.
[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Service compatibility? Is homosexuality compatible with military service?

[Add New]

Pro

  • Gays that keep personal lives private are compatible with military A white female US military officer said, according to "Gays and lesbians in the military": "I feel as long as they can perform the jobs required of them, they should be allowed in the military. What goes on behind closed doors is none of the military's business. As long as gays and lesbians keep their private lives out of the workplace, I foresee no problems."[7]



[Add New]

Con

  • Homosexuality is incompatible with military culture and service Homosexuality is simply incompatible with the principles of military services, which include a focus on the mission, service, discipline, bodily integrity, and control over one's impulses. Homosexuality does not appropriately reflect these principles. This sentiment was reflected in an article signed by Gen. Carl E. Mundy, Jr., a former commandant of the Marine Corps; Adm. Leighton W. Smith, a former commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe; Gen. Charles A. Horner, who commanded U.S. aerial forces during the 1990-91 Gulf War; and Adm. Jerome L. Johnson, a former vice chief of Naval Operations. They wrote, succinctly, "homosexuality is incompatible with military service".[9]
[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Retention: Does "Don't ask don't tell" harm or improve retention?"

[Add New]

Pro

  • Troops should be judged on performance, not orientation Soldiers should be judged on their performance not on their sexual orientation. "Don't ask, don't tell" completely ignores performance, judging and even discarding soldiers based on their entirely irrelevant sexual orientation. A good military should be a meritocracy, rewarding good achievement and ability. "Don't ask don't tell" fails to live up to this notion, and surely suffers in its quality as a result.
  • Number of gays in military makes ban unwise In December 2007, 28 retired generals and admirals urged Congress to repeal the policy, citing evidence that 65,000 gay men and women are currently serving in the armed forces, and that there are over 1,000,000 gay veterans.[10] Ridding the military of homosexuals would, therefore, seriously reduce the number of armed forces available to the US military and impair the United State's ability to project its foreign policy and national security interests.
  • Don't ask don't tell harms troop retention Bob Barr. "Don't Ask, Who Cares." The Wall Street Journal. June 13, 2007: "The U.S. has fired over 11,000 people under the current policy, and in the process has lost over 1,000 service members with 'mission-critical skills,' including 58 Arabic linguists. Researchers at the UCLA School of Law have found that lifting the ban could increase the number of active-duty personnel by over 40,000. Because the military can't fill its slots [, it has lowered its standards, extended tours of duty and increased rotations, further hurting morale and readiness."
[Add New]

Con

  • Gays in the military undermine recruiting/retention of opponents Letter from the American Center for Military Readiness. March 3, 2009 - "When the 2008 [Military Times] survey asked how people would respond if homosexuals were allowed to serve openly, 10% said they would not re-enlist or extend their service, and an additional 14% said they would consider ending their careers. These responses from active duty members are not exact indicators, but they are significant, especially when major efforts are underway to increase the Army and Marine Corps. We cannot afford to lose almost a quarter of the volunteer force, especially among careerists in grades and skills that are not quickly or easily replaceable."
  • "Don't ask don't tell" does not actively pursue gays Letter from the American Center for Military Readiness. March 3, 2009 - "Don't ask don't tell was formulated in response to President Clinton's direction to the secretary of defense to find a way to enable homosexuals who wish to serve to do so. The policy removed the question: 'are you homosexual?' from the uniformed services enlistment application form ('don't ask'); asserted that open admission of homosexuality or homosexual conduct were a basis for discharge ('don't tell'); and charged military leaders not to pursue suspected homosexuals without clear evidence of conduct or open admissions."


[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Recruits: Does "don't ask don't tell" impair or improve recruiting?

[Add New]

Yes


[Add New]

No


[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Rights: Is "don't ask don't tell" inconsistent with citizens' rights?

[Add New]

Pro

  • What about African-Americans? This is the same case as with African-Americans during the WWII. They weren't allowed to fight in the war (only until several laws were passed). The African-American situation was similar to our situation. Just because of some fictious, bigoted beliefs, the African-Americans weren't allowed to serve in combat, making both the nation outraged and the African-Americans frustrated. The same applies to gays. It's also just because of some fictious, bigoted beliefs that gays can't fight as well.
  • "Don't ask don't tell makes gays second class citizens Anna Quindlen. "The End Of An Error". Newsweek. April 4, 2009 - "When it became law in 1993, the policy was sold as an attempt to allow gays to serve if they did not discuss their orientation or participate in homosexual acts—that is, if they lived a life of pretense and self-denial not required of straight counterparts. Shame and second-class status were therefore built into the deal, and unsurprisingly led to a reality in which exemplary soldiers were harassed, investigated and expelled based on "evidence" as negligible as friendly banter or thoughtless gossip."


[Add New]

Con

  • Gays do not have a "right" to military service Robert Maginnis. "Gays in the Military Debate". Human Events. October 4, 2007 - "The 1993 ban is premised on the fact that there is no constitutional right to serve. Thus, Congress may decide who should or should not serve. For 231 years, the US military has discriminated among potential recruits based on a variety of characteristics and behaviors, with the intent of forming the best possible force. That’s why, according to the General Accountability Office, the Pentagon discharged 59,098 service personnel for drug offenses, 26,513 for weight standards and 9,501 for homosexuality between 1993 and 2004."
  • "Don't ask don't tell" forbids homosexual acts, not gays "The Pentagon's New Policy Guidelines on Homosexuals in the Military". The New York Times. July 20, 1993: "Sexual orientation will not be a bar to service unless manifested by homosexual conduct. The military will discharge members who engage in homosexual conduct, which is defined as a homosexual act, a statement that the member is homosexual or bisexual, or a marriage or attempted marriage to someone of the same gender."[13] In other words, the policy does not prohibit being gay in the military, but only expressions of that homosexuality.


[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Privacy: Can privacy and modesty rights be maintained with gays serving openly?

[Add New]

Pro

  • Gays held to same decency standards as others in military A white male officers said, as quoted in the book "Gays and Lesbians in the Military": "Gays should be held to exactly the same standards of propriety and public behavior as every one else - public or indiscreet sexual behavior ought to be discouraged, whether participants are gay or straight."[14]
  • Most gays will remain private after military ban is lifted A white female officer was reported saying in the book "Gays and Lesbians in the Military": "Most gays and lesbians just want to be left alone to do their jobs. My opinion is that most gays will remain in the closet long after the ban is lifted - they just don't want to continue living under threat."[15]
[Add New]

Con

[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Choice: Is homosexuality a choice? Is this relevant to military policy?

[Add New]

Pro

  • Homosexuality is no choice, don't ban it in military Many gay members of the military make the following argument as to why it is illogical that homosexuals would choose: "I wish I could decide who I fell in love with; if someone thinks I would consciously choose such a life where I am forced to live in hiding and fear, knowing the bulk of the population is against you, is just crazy. I can’t help who I am.' 'Why would I choose to suffer like this?' Ultimately"[16]
[Add New]

Con

  • Gays make an immoral choice the military need not tolerate Many argue that homosexuality is a choice, rather than an inherent trait that warrants protection and toleration. It would follow from this that the military is not obligated to accept or tolerate gays, or gays serving openly. One white female US military officer was quoted in the book "Gays and lesbians in the military" as saying: "It is a moral choice - people aren't born homosexual, they choose (though some can have some tendencies - they can be cured). It is a sin."[17]
[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Morality: Is homosexuality moral? Should this drive policy?

[Add New]

Pro

  • Gays are natural not immoral, should be accepted in armies "Gays in the US military." Religious tolerance: "In the past, gays and lesbians were not permitted in any of the armed forces in the West. Most countries have abandoned their anti-gay policies in recent years, as mental health professionals determined that a homosexual orientation is fixed, and unchosen, a normal and natural orientation for a minority of adults, and not a mental illness. Among the armies in the Western industrialized world, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the UK allow gays and lesbians to serve freely."
  • Individual prejudice should not drive military policy C. Dixon Osburn, who heads the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a gay advocacy group in Washington, said in March 2007, "General Pace1s comments are outrageous, insensitive and disrespectful to the 65,000 lesbian and gay troops now serving in our armed forces. [...] As a Marine and a military leader, General Pace knows that prejudice should not dictate policy. It is inappropriate for the Chairman to condemn those who serve our country because of his own personal bias. He should immediately apologize for his remarks."[18]
  • If "immoral" gays banned from military, ban adulterers too A white female military officer was quoted in the book "Gays and Lesbians in the Military," as saying: "About moral choices, let's not let people who have had premarital sex or an affair be in the army either!!! Then there would be no one protecting our country. And bible bashers need to reread the section that says he without guilt should cast the first stone."[19]


[Add New]

Con

  • US military should not condone immoral homosexuality Marine General Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a March 2007 interview with the Chicago Tribune, "I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts."[20]


[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Quality of life: Does "don't ask don't tell" improve or harm gay troop quality of life?

[Add New]

Pro

  • "Don't ask don't tell insults and traumatizes gay troops C. Dixon Osburn, who heads the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a gay advocacy group in Washington, said in March of 2007, "General Pace's comments [against the moral soundness of homosexuality] are outrageous, insensitive and disrespectful to the 65,000 lesbian and gay troops now serving in our armed forces. Our men and women in uniform make tremendous sacrifices for our country, and deserve General Pace's praise, not his condemnation."
Jeff Cleghorn, a former lawyer with the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a gay-rights group monitoring military justice, said to the Washington Post in June 18, 2004 article, "In the case of some, they get in the Army and they are traumatized by an awareness that the military is 20 years behind the societal curve."[22]
  • "Don't ask don't tell" damages gay troop relationships Megan Coffey. "Gay troops suffer under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". Examiner. October 13, 2009: "As hard as deployment is on the heterosexual relationships of troops deployed on the battlefield, it is exponentially harder on the same-sex relationships of deployed troops, because gay personnel must pretend their partners don't exist. [...] If an LGBT troop is injured or killed, his or her partner may never even find out. Same-sex partners cannot see their loved ones off or welcome them home from deployments in public; they cannot send them openly affectionate letters or emails, or talk to them by phone, or send them care packages or photos, or even say or write 'I love you' to each other--all under the stress of separation and the daily fear of imminent death."


[Add New]

Con

  • "Don't ask don't tell" softened military policy on gays "Don't ask don't tell" made US military policy more flexible and accommodating to gays in the military. The key element was that shifted policy from officers overtly seeking, persecuting, court marshaling, and discharging (often dishonorably), toward a policy that restricted the ability of officers and commanders to inquire on the orientation of a soldier and pursue subsequent action. It also set a higher burden of proof in demonstrating that a person was a homosexual. This general shift toward accommodation was an improvement and should be recognized as such.
  • There are good reasons for servicemen to keep sexual orientation secret. As long as they keep their sexual preferences secret, there are no problems. If they expose them, however, problems arise with other soldiers. They often share very close quarters and may make other soldiers uncomfortable.
  • Commanders/officers also cannot ask about orientation. "Don't ask don't tell" is fair in the sense that commanders and officers alike are barred from asking about the sexuality of soldiers. This levels the playing field to a certain extent. It means that commanders and officers cannot alienate and persecute soldiers out of speculation that they may be gay. This was the compromise that was struck when Bill Clinton sought to enable gays in the military, but was met with heavy resistance. Restrictions on officers and commanders inquiring about the orientation of members of the military was an improvement over the previous policy, which forbid gays and allowed overt inquires and persecutions.


[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Race/gender analogies: Is DADT analogous to past ban on blacks and women?

[Add New]

Pro

  • Military gay ban is analogous to ban on blacks and women Barry M. Goldwater. "Ban on Gays is Senseless Attempt to Stall the Inevitable" - "Years ago, I was a lieutenant in charge of an all-black unit. Military leaders at the time believed that blacks lacked leadership potential - period. That seems ridiculous now, as it should. Now, each and every man and woman who serves this nation takes orders from a black man - our own Gen. Colin Powell. [...] Nobody thought that blacks or women could ever be integrated into the military. Many thought that an all-volunteer force could never protect our national interest. Well, it has, and despite those who feared the worst - I among them - we are still the best and will continue to be. [...] The point is that decisions are always a lot easier to make in hindsight. but we seldom have that luxury. That's why the future of our country depends on leadership, and that's what we need now."


[Add New]

Con

  • Race and gender are not comparable to gays in the military. Race and gender are more fundamental than sexual orientation. Race and gender are clearly hereditary, while there is much more room for debate as to whether sexual orientation is hereditary or voluntary, or some mix of both nature and nurture. So, to compare gays in the military with the past debates on women and blacks in the military goes too far.
"Skin color is a benign, non-behavioral characteristic. Sexual orientation is perhaps the most profound of human behavioral characteristics. Comparison of the two is convenient but invalid argument. I believe the privacy rights of all Americans in uniform have to be considered, especially since those rights are often infringed upon by conditions of military service."
[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Anti-gay violence: Would ending "don't ask don't tell" decrease anti-gay violence?

[Add New]

Pro

  • Abandoning "don't ask don't tell" will decrease violence against gays Dr. Aaron Belkin. "Abandoning 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' will decrease anti-gay violence." Palm Center. May 1, 2005: "Lessons from foreign armed forces, as well as U.S. police and fire departments that have lifted their bans, reveal that, in the worst case, lifting the gay ban will have no impact on the level of anti-gay abuse. But in the more likely scenario, lifting the ban should decrease violence. [...] After the British lifted the ban, however, there were few reports of gay-bashing. Professor Gwyn Harries-Jenkins, a leading expert on the British military, reported 'a slight decrease in the incidence of harassment.' [...] The reason why anti-gay violence does not increase, and usually decreases after the lifting of a ban is that victims of abuse are able to report harassment without fearing an investigation into their own sexuality. Perpetrators know that victims are more likely to report them, and are therefore less likely to engage in misbehavior in the first place."
[Add New]

Con

  • "Don't ask don't tell" keeps orientation secret, protects gays. "Don't ask don't tell" helps keep the sexual-orientation of gays a secret, which protects them from the potential of other servicemen acting violently against them because they are gay. If gays openly stated their sexuality, and if they were more free to enact their homosexual behavior and personalities, they would obviously be much more recognizable as gay, and would be targeted more.
[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

False accusation: Does "don't ask don't tell" invite false accusation?

[Add New]

Pro

  • "Don't ask don't tell" invites hearsay accusations "Don't Ask, Don't Tell? No, Just Don't Be." Jezebel. Feb 11 2009 - "Amy Brian enlisted in the military for 3 years in the 90s, and then came back in 2003 only to be deployed to Iraq. But it was a trip to Wal-Mart that did her in. [...] In that trip, a civilian co-worker at the U.S. Property and Fiscal Office saw Brian kiss her girlfriend. So despite not asking nor telling, she was kicked out of the military. [...] The federal law states the military must have proof of the homosexual conduct, an admission from the soldier or an attempt or successful application for marriage to another gay person by the soldier. [...] Apparently, 'proof' is one person noticing that you're living your personal life on your own terms, and requires no corroboration."


[Add New]

Con

  • "Don't ask don't tell" requires clear proof for discharges. "Don't ask don't tell" requires that leaders do not pursue gay individuals unless there is clear evidence/proof that they have engaged in homosexual behavior or a self-admission of engaging in such behavior. Military leaders are charged with not pursuing and prosecuting gay individuals. Evidence must present itself by its own accord. This is a high bar of evidence and proof, consistent with principles of justice and due process.
[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Costs: Is allowing gays in the military economical?

[Add New]

Yes

  • "Don't ask don't tell" has been very costly in dollars "Report: 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' costs $363M". USA Today. February 14, 2006 - "Discharging troops under the Pentagon's policy on gays cost $363.8 million over 10 years, almost double what the government concluded a year ago, a private report says. [...] The report, to be released Tuesday by a University of California Blue Ribbon Commission, questioned the methodology the Government Accountability Office used when it estimated that the financial impact of the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy was at least $190.5 million. [...] 'It builds on the previous findings and paints a more complete picture of the costs,' said Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass., who has proposed legislation that would repeal the policy."


[Add New]

No

  • Costs of DADT are justified to uphold military efficacy. Even if it is true that DADT costs the military some money in terms of recruitment and retention, this may be offset and justified by the gains in military efficacy, particularly in regards to upholding unit cohesion. These military and war-fighting benefits clearly justify the relatively small monetary cost of don't ask don't tell.
  • Gays in the military would be costly in recruiting/retention. Argued in the section on talent, recruiting, and retention, there is good evidence that there are many members of the military as well as prospective recruits that oppose gays in the military, and who may leave the military or avoid enlisting if gays are allowed to serve openly. This would be very costly in dollar-terms to the military. And, while some homosexuals may be lost via a ban on homosexuals, and while this may be costly, it can easily be argued that this is more than outweighed by the costs of losing opponents to gays in the military.


[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Compromise: Was "don't ask don't tell" a needed compromise?

[Add New]

Pro

  • "Don't ask don't tell" was stepping stone to gays in military John Shalikashvili. "Second Thoughts on Gays in the Military". New York Times. January 2, 2007 - "In the early 1990s, large numbers of military personnel were opposed to letting openly gay men and lesbians serve. President Bill Clinton, who promised to lift the ban during his campaign, was overwhelmed by the strength of the opposition, which threatened to overturn any executive action he might take. The compromise that came to be known as 'don’t ask, don’t tell' was thus a useful speed bump that allowed temperatures to cool for a period of time while the culture continued to evolve. [...] The question before us now is whether enough time has gone by to give this policy serious reconsideration. Much evidence suggests that it has."


[Add New]

Con

  • "Don't ask don't tell" is a necessary compromise in a divided country. "Don't ask don't tell" was crafted in the early 90s, when the country and the military were deeply divided as to whether gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military. The country remains deeply divided on this question. "Don't ask don't tell" strikes an appropriate compromise in this divided environment, avoiding overt approval of homosexuality in the military, while accommodating it.


[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Military opinion: Where do members of the US military stand?

[Add New]

Pro

  • Military opinion has shifted, accepting gays John Shalikashvili. "Second Thoughts on Gays in the Military". New York Times. January 2, 2007 - "Last year I held a number of meetings with gay soldiers and marines, including some with combat experience in Iraq, and an openly gay senior sailor who was serving effectively as a member of a nuclear submarine crew. These conversations showed me just how much the military has changed, and that gays and lesbians can be accepted by their peers. [...] This perception is supported by a new Zogby poll of more than 500 service members returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, three quarters of whom said they were comfortable interacting with gay people. And 24 foreign nations, including Israel, Britain and other allies in the fight against terrorism, let gays serve openly, with none reporting morale or recruitment problems."


[Add New]

Con

  • Most members of US military support ban on gays Americans in the military are inclined to oppose gays serving openly in the military and support "don't ask don't tell". A 2006 opinion poll by the independent Military Times newspapers showed that only 30% of those surveyed think openly gay people should serve. 59% are opposed.[23]
Barry M. Goldwater. "Ban on Gays is Senseless Attempt to Stall the Inevitable" - "Unlike polls of civilians, in four annual Military Times Polls announced since 2005, approximately 58% of active duty respondents consistently oppose efforts to repeal what the polls referred to as the 'don't ask don't tell policy'."
[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

American public opinion: Where does the American public opinion stand?

[Add New]

Pro

  • American pubic opinion favors gays in the military Polls have shown that a large majority of the American public favors allowing gay and lesbian people to serve openly in the U.S. military. A national poll conducted in May 2005 by the Boston Globe showed 79% of participants having nothing against openly gay people from serving in the military. In a 2008 Washington Post–ABC News poll, 75% of Americans – including 80% of Democrats, 75% of independents, and 66% of conservatives – said that openly gay people should be allowed to serve in the military.[24]
  • Military opinion on gays behind public opinion Jeff Cleghorn, a former lawyer with the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a gay-rights group monitoring military justice, said to the Washington Post in June 18, 2004 article, "In the case of some, they get in the Army and they are traumatized by an awareness that the military is 20 years behind the societal curve."[25]


[Add New]

Con

"EDITORIAL: Please don't ask again." Washington Times. October 13, 2009: "The consensus in the military [...] is in the other direction. The most recent Military Times survey showed that 58 percent of military respondents oppose a policy change, and 24 percent said they would either leave the military (10 percent) or consider terminating their careers after serving their tours of duty (14 percent)."
[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section up]

Pro/con resources:

[Add New]

Yes

[Add New]

No

See also

External links and resources

Problem with the site? 

Tweet a bug on bugtwits
.