“Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” & Front-line Homophobia

The survey sent to hundreds of thousands of men & women serving us bravely in all branches of the military, exposed two things about the military culture as it relates to sexual orientation:

  1. The majority really don’t care what your orientation is, so long as you’re skilled and competent
  2. The minority who do care are of the most “macho” ilk: those who are specially trained for front-line combat duty, like Navy Seals and Marine Special Ops

So, the real issue is, do you maintain a policy to keep a minority of your members happy?  The strongest argument for doing just that is the fear of the ultimate consequence: the threat by those service members that they will not re-enlist if the “don’t ask/don’t tell” policy changes.  Thus, the argument goes, if we allow a gay or lesbian person to serve openly in the military, we will lose our finest and most trained, elite soldiers.

To which the sane and most effective response is:  We will not lose fine, trained soldiers.  We will simply replace homophobic ones with those who have equal capability but have been barred from enlisting due to their refusal to hide their sexual orientation.

Value added, we will weed out bigoted, small-minded men (the overwhelming majority are men) who may make good fighting machines, but clearly don’t possess other valuable qualities needed to be a truly great soldier & human being: acceptance of differences (really needed in today’s wars that emphasize “changing hearts and minds” as much as brute force); the ability to discern between fact and myth (critical thinking); and the capacity to assess someone or something based on effectiveness vs. personal fears/phobias.

And that is the best reason to overturn this policy.

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Gay Marriage

This past Sunday, a gentleman by the name of David Blankenhorn, an identified liberal Democrat, had his commentary published in the LA Times: Protecting Marriage to Protect Children: you can read the full piece at: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-blankenhorn19-2008sep19,0,2093869.story

As a Boomer (as I believe is he), also a Democrat (albeit a somewhat conservative one…), and someone with a professional background working with highly at-risk children and youth, I have formulated my thoughts on his thoughts (yes, I know….too much thinking…what can I say, that’s what we Dem’s do…).  Here they are.

I would like to help Mr. Blankenhorn with a few of his “facts”:

§    “Marriage is the “primary license to have children” –
this fits very nicely with homosexual unions, as many have children…biologically…

§    “Marriage unites the three  core dimensions of parenthood – biological, social and legal” –
see above for biological, social was resolved in the last century, and I believe it is the legal category that pro-gay marriage legislation is attempting to fix

§    “People wed primarily to reproduce” –
this motive for marriage ended after we ‘won the West’ and no longer needed to populate small towns…

§    “Children have the right…to know and to be cared for by the two parents who brought them into the world…” –
as a Guardian ad Litem and a mental health professional who has worked for over a decade with homeless/runaway youth in two of this
country’s major cities, I have seen more unfit biological parents (heterosexual, by the way) than there are pork barrel projects in Washington,
and it is precisely an emphasis on the “right of the biological parents” vs. the best interest of the child that anyone associated with child
protection will agree stands in the way of getting children moved out of foster care and into stable, permanent homes: which speaks directly to
your assertion that they are indeed “society’s most voiceless and vulnerable group.”

§    “Every child being raised by gay or lesbian couples will be denied his birthright to both parents who made him.” –
see bullet #1, and add to it that many homosexual unions include one or the other partner’s biological child with access to the other biological
parent, no different than in a heterosexual divorce situation

§    “Losing that right will not be a consequence of something…tragic (such as divorce, unexpected pregnancy…)…On the contrary…those
unions…will be explained to everyone as something wonderful (that) has happened!” –
you’re comparing break-ups and unplanned reproduction to a union of two people – apples and oranges – sly…but didn’t get by me…

§    “Legalized same-sex marriage almost certainly benefits those couples as well as the children being raised in those homes.” –
hey…make up your mind…and it doesn’t “almost” benefit those children, it does so absolutely

§    “But changing the meaning of marriage to accommodate homosexual orientation…undermines the gift of birthright…that is marriage’s most
distinctive contribution to human society.” –
it would seem, given all the above, that you’ve actually done a fine job of proving that marriage, regardless of who with whom, is a key
component to the things needed most for the raising of healthy children; stability; access to parents who treasure them; and legal recognition
so they can reap all the benefits therein.

I hope this helps you in future, and oh, by the way, thanks for actually making a fine case for the importance of gay marriage particularly when it comes to the well-being of the children involved!