"Don't Ask, Don't Tell"? Don't Change
By: Floyd and Mary Beth Brown
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, January 16, 2009
As Barack Obama prepares to be sworn in as commander in chief on January 20, homosexual-rights activists are gleeful about changes he will bring to the armed services. Based on his campaign promises, Obama is expected to overturn the military's policy regarding sexual conduct. Commonly referred to as “don’t ask, don’t tell” the military prohibits the service of openly practicing homosexuals. This policy was created early in the Clinton administration after a long and divisive fight and the hard-fought compromise has drawn the ire of liberals such as Obama ever since.
“It's time to turn the page on the bitterness and bigotry that fill so much of today's LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) rights debate,” Obama said while campaigning. “The rights of all Americans should be protected -- whether it's at work or anyplace else. 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' needs to be repealed because patriotism and a sense of duty should be the key tests for military service, not sexual orientation."
Not reported in the media or discussed by advocates are the opinions of the men and women actually serving our country that would be affected by this change in policy. A poll of some 2,000 active duty military taken in December by the Military Times found that 58 percent opposed a policy change. Of those polled, 10 percent said they would not reenlist, and 14 percent reported they would consider not reenlisting if the policy is changed to please homosexual activists.
Essentially, the United States military, the greatest fighting force ever assembled, has had a policy in place against homosexual conduct since its formation. This policy annoys certain liberals who want to force their social agenda on the rest of the country and ignore those affected.
Bill Clinton tried in the 1990s to end the prohibition of homosexual activity in the armed forces, but his attempt to do so was heavily criticized by members of both parties. The opposition was led by Sam Nunn, a Democrat from Georgia. After much haranguing, a compromise was reached that stated “…the prohibition against homosexual conduct is a long-standing element of military law that continues to be necessary in the unique circumstances of military service.”
Barring a pre-enlistment question about homosexuality "was the only compromise Congress let Clinton get away with," says Elaine Donnelly, president of the non-profit Center for Military Readiness which supports continuing the ban. "The law respects the power of sexuality and the normal human desire for modesty in sexual matters." There have been on-and-off efforts to repeal this law over the last few years, but those are expected to intensify with Obama's support.
While Obama is clearly in favor of repealing this law, the question becomes, when will he push for it? Some pundits believe that Obama will act quickly because he is eager to appease the gay leaders after he upset many homosexuals by selecting Rick Warren, a staunch supporter of traditional marriage, to give the invocation at his inauguration. Obama also appears to be tapping Bill White, a gay man, to be his Navy secretary, which will certainly bring the policy regarding sexual conduct to the forefront.
As Obama weighs his options, a reason for him to pause is a Wall Street Journal survey. It found that the top issue motivating people to vote Republican, which returned control of Congress to the GOP in 1994, was Clinton’s attempt to lift the military ban on homosexuality. There is certainly no public mandate for this social change.
If Barack Obama stays true to his campaign promises, the armed forces will likely lose hundreds of thousands of troops. When our troop numbers are already stretched thin, we don’t need radical policies driving away more. Nevertheless, Obama appears poised to stubbornly buck centuries of military tradition by going against the will of the American people, as well as those in the military who will be affected by this change.
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