The Senate Republicans blocked the repeal of DADT today in a 57-40 vote. I’m disturbed and dismayed. I’m having a difficult time with the rationale for allowing the discriminatory DADT policy to remain in effect. Actually, I’m having a hard time understanding the rationales for all policies and legislation that blatantly discriminate against gay and lesbian citizens.
According to an article posted on AOL’s Politics Daily, “The vote coincided with the release of a new Gallup poll showing that two-thirds of Americans want the DADT law off the books.” The poll shows that 67 percent of Americans favor repeal of the military’s policy against gays and lesbians serving openly in the military. Not 1 percent or 2 percent, folks, but 67 percent! Yet Senate Republicans feel that those gay and lesbian service persons should just continue to serve our country and keep their mouths shut about their identity.
My biggest problem with DADT is that gays and lesbians have always served proudly in our military. I know several of those current and ex-service members personally. I had a discussion with an esteemed colleague about DADT the other day (a straight guy who served in the U.S. Army) and he mused that one’s sexuality should never be an issue. Never. Other than wanting to know who to contact in case of an emergency, why should the question of sexual orientation be asked of any service member, gay or straight?
The Christian Science Monitor reported that:
“Republicans such as Sen. John McCain of Arizona suggest that a repeal could cause problems among crucial infantry units – problems that could harm the military’s effectiveness at a time when it is at war in Afghanistan. The heads of the Marines, Army, and Air Force have said a repeal could be problematic and should be delayed until America is no longer on a war footing.”
Um, knock knock, Senator McCain. There are plenty of gay and lesbian service members fighting that war. They’re not asking for anything more than any other service member. Equality shouldn’t be a foreign concept to you or any other member of Congress.
According to AOL’s Politics Daily,
“[t]he Pentagon has prepared an 86-page plan to rewrite regulations and educate the troops before repeal of the law is implemented. Defense Department officials said the process would take months, in part because 97,000 military personnel currently serving in Afghanistan could not receive the training until they return home after their tours, which last from four to 12 months.”
I’m hearing “excuses” written all over that one. Between DADT and DOMA, well, this blatant discrimination is downright embarrassing.
CBS News reported that “[i]mmediately after the vote, Independent Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman and Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins said they planned to introduce a freestanding bill to repeal the policy, providing a glimmer of hope to advocates of legislative repeal this year.”
Well folks, there’s not much I can say tonight to make gay and lesbian service personnel or their families and friends feel better. DADT remains alive and well. At least for now.
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copyright 2010 Irene C. Olszewski