Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Lawsuit dismissed

The federal court in Boston threw out a case brought by 12 gay and lesbian former servicemembers (reg req) challenging the legality of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. They argued that the policy violated their rights to privacy, free speech, and equal protection. Unfortunatly, all 12 people, and their legal team, seemed to forget that they were in the military.

I touched on it earlier this month that Soldiers are not as free as regular citizens to express our opinions. As a Soldier I'm not allowed to get a tattoo on my forehead that says "Army Rulz!". I can't have pierced ears. I'm not allowed to eat anything I want and not exercise and become morbidly obese. Growing a goatee is not authorized either. There are all sorts of restrictions on behavior inherent to the military. None of those restrictions weren't in place when these 12 people joined. It's not like 10 years ago the Army had an open-door policy and allowed all sorts of people from the Gay Pride parade to join and suddenly the rules changed leaving this dozen out in the cold. They joined full-well knowing what the military's policy on homosexual conduct was.

I'd mentioned before that I'm not a raging homophobic. As a matter of fact I, like most of America, am pretty ambivalent when it comes to gay people. Hell, if i was promoted tomorrow to "Lord All High Master of the World" I'd probably remove the prohibition on gay people in the military. I'd have to think about the whole transgendered thing a bit more though, because, well, that's creepy. But someone who is just attracted to someone with the same equipment, to each their own.

Although my personal opinions might not agree with the policy, it is a policy that was debated at length in the legislature, and has been upheld in court several times over the past 13 years. I'm sure those 12 really do want nothing more than to return to the service, but they violated a very clear cut rule. Lawsuits seeking to overturn it accomplish nothing but give the plantiffs attention. I'm not a legal scholar but I'd think it's pretty well-established law that the military does not have to abide by the same hiring and discrimination rules as a civilian organization does.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell is the weapon of choice for agenda driven groups with which to beat the military and recruiters about the head and shoulders. I have no doubt that changing the rule from "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" to "We're Here, We're Queer" won't change a thing on the campuses of America's colleges. It won't result in UC Berkley putting an on-campus recruiter's office in the student lounge. All the policy does is give people who have no intention of joining the military a convient excuse that sounds good. It's a much better feeling to tell the recruiter to "eff off because the Army discriminates" than to tell the recruiter to "eff off because I'm a pansy."

Although the day the Army changes its policy I have a whole list of people to call because they're now eligible. I wonder how many of them will jump at the chance.


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