So today President Obama will sign the repeal of the United States Military's infamous "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. It's a victory for LGBT rights long in coming, and it's took a lame duck Congress to finally get it done - but it's here. I'm not gay, nor am I a member of the United States Military, but I can't help but see this as a monumental step forward for progress.
Over the last several years, we've seen a culture of regression regarding equal rights for bis, gays and lesbians, with bans on same sex marriages cropping up across the nation. Don't Ask, Don't Tell itself was a ridiculous policy set in place in the 90s as an attempt not to offend this culture of defensive regression. While there is still a long way to go for the LGBT community for equal rights, this is an important victory that was really needed.
And honestly, it helps give me hope again.
These days it's pretty easy to feel lost, with an incoming Republican controlled Congress - and the constant barrage of anger from the Tea Part movement. It's easy to feel like there isn't any hope to be found. It's easy to remember every compromise we've had to make because of petty politics and those who were afraid. Hell, it's easy to think it's not worth even trying anymore...
...but then something like this happens.
So while there is still a long way to go, it reminds us that there is still a light at the end of the tunnel - regardless how small. I guess on one of the darkest days of this part of the world, it's nice to know there's a little light out there. It gives hope to the fight to win even one battle, and reminds us that while the war is far from over, it can still be won.
Over the next year, the Military will transition to a state where Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals can openly serve. It will be a Military that truly represents everyone it protects, and one which allows its members to serve with honor and not lie about who or what they are.
Progress, it seems, is not dead - and there is still hope for the future.
Quick note: The 60 day wait begins only after the military completes and certifies an orderly path toward the new policy. Nearly everyone involved suggests it will be before the end of 2011, but it won't likely be until the second half of the year. Either way, good riddance to bad policy.
I never liked DADT, but I have to admit, it was better than the prior policy of actively rooting out and discharging homosexuals. I consider it as a step, albeit a small one, toward the end goal.
I'm happy to see this finally happen. I had gay shipmates in the Navy and they worked just as hard and were in just as much danger as anyone else. Why shouldn't they be allowed to be open about who they are? There's one huge problem with repealing DADT though and it never really got discussed. The military pays you more if you are married, and since gay marriage is legal in some states, I'm curious to see if they will issue the extra pay for gay marriage. Probably not because of federal law over state law in cases involving the military, but I can easily see this growing into a lawsuit.
It's been stated in a few venues that, per the DOMA restrictions, no benefits associated with marriage would be extended to same-sex married couples in the military. Honestly, I think we'll need to see at least a half dozen more states adopt same-sex marriage before repealing DOMA becomes a political feasibility.
On the upside, people under 30 are in support of gay marriage regardless of political party, and overwhelmingly so in the case of liberals and independants. Funeral by funeral, civilization advances.
Side note: I don't wish those opposed to gay marriage would die, but cold statistics suggest it would change the conversation.
No problem It would have been more interesting if it had been overturned in the courts instead of congress. That would have been an overnight change. I'm with Gates on how bad of an idea that would have been. There's a lot of nuts and bolts that need to be taken into account aside from who's asking and who's telling.