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Consequences of Repealing the 1993 Law: Homosexuals in the Military

November 19, 2008
Right Side News heard Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, discussing current issues regarding the military, including women in combat and the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy on American Family Radio today.  Make sure you visit the Center for Military Readiness and also Americans for the Military and sign the petition to stop Congress from forcing a sexual agenda on our military. This would hurt discipline and morale.  Elaine Donnelly testified before the House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee on July 23, 2008.  A summary of her statement is available here, and the full-length version is posted here. Excepts follow:
      Consequences of Repealing the 1993 Law: Homosexuals in the Military

Repeal of the Law and Forced Cohabitation

If Congress repeals the 1993 statute stating that homosexuals are not eligible to serve in uniform, and the military is ordered to accommodate professed (not discreet) homosexuals, the culture of the military will be radically changed.  Recruiters will be directed to accept and even seek out professed homosexuals for induction in all branches of the military, including direct ground combat communities. 

This means that heterosexuals-the majority of men and women who volunteer to serve─will be required to live in forced cohabitation with professed (not discreet) homosexuals, on all military bases and ships at sea, on a 24/7 basis.  Such a policy would impose new, unneeded burdens of sexual tension on men and women serving in high-pressure working conditions, far from home, that are unlike any occupation in the civilian world.

The real-world issue here is not superficial. Nor is it a Hollywood fantasy portrayed for laughs in a television sitcom.  We are talking about human sexuality and the normal, human desire for personal privacy and modesty in sexual matters. 

Repealing the 1993 law would be tantamount to forcing female soldiers to cohabit with men in intimate quarters, on all military bases and ships at sea, on a 24/7 basis.  Stated in gender-neutral terms, forced cohabitation in military conditions that offer little or no privacy would force persons to live with persons who might be sexually attracted to them. 

Inappropriate passive/aggressive actions common in the homosexual community, short of physical touching and assault, will be permitted in all military communities, to include Army and Marine infantry battalions, Special Operations Forces. Navy SEALS, and cramped submarines that patrol the seas for months at a time. 

The ensuing sexual tension will hurt discipline and morale, but commanders will not have the power to improve the situation.  Individuals whose beliefs and feelings about sexuality are violated by the new policy will have no recourse.  The only option will be to avoid or leave the service.  Forced cohabitation with homosexuals in the military, 24/7, would be unfair, demoralizing, and harmful to the culture of the volunteer force, on which our national security depends. 

We keep hearing that in the brave new "Will & Grace" world, none of this matters.  And yet, it was only a year ago when the nation reacted with universal disapproval of Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) and 39 others who were arrested for inappropriate behavior in a public but transient place at the Minneapolis airport over a period of three months. [1]

Columnist Michael Medved drew a valid comparison in an insightful article titled "Larry Craig and ‘Don't Tap, Don't Tell."  Medved asked a fair question:  If preventing public sex in airport men's rooms is important enough to justify the deployment of undercover cops, isn't it similarly important to deter the sexualization of private facilities in the military? [2]  

Contrary to the misleading name assigned to legislation proposed to repeal Section 654, Title 10, personnel policies that cause turbulence and division in military units, instead of uniting them, would detract from readiness, not "enhance" it. [3]

Implications of the "Civil Rights" Argument

Activists who demand repeal of the 1993 law invoke the honored standard of "civil rights."  [4]  Their cause, however, bears little resemblance to our military's proud history of racial integration. [5]  If this is deemed a civil rights issue, the argument should be taken to its logical conclusion.  If the military is ordered to accommodate homosexuals, it will follow the civil rights model in counter-productive attempts to make the new paradigm "work." 

The principle of "zero tolerance" in matters of civil rights is well established.  The military does not do things half-way.  Nor does it tolerate members who do not support civil rights and equal opportunity in the military.

This means that any military man or woman who expresses concerns about professed homosexuals in the military, for any reason, will be assumed "intolerant," and suspected of harassment, homophobia, "bullying," bigotry, or worse.  Since our military does not tolerate sexual harassment or bigotry, disciplinary penalties and career-ending denials of promotions would be the logical consequence of treating homosexuals in the military as a "civil rights" issue. [6]   

This mandate would be particularly divisive among men and women whose religious convictions are thrown into direct conflict with official military policy.  As a result, thousands of valuable troops could feel compelled to avoid or leave military service. 

In the most recent "study" released by the Palm Center, formerly named the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military (CSSMM), a panel of four retired military officers showed little concern about this problem.  In "Finding Five" of the document, the panel conceded that an estimated 4,000 military personnel would be lost to the service if the law were repealed.  They also claimed, with no credible support, that the loss would be "a wash in terms of recruiting and retention" because 4,000 gays and lesbians would enlist to take their places. 

The report based its estimates of potential personnel losses on responses to a survey question in a Zogby Poll, which the Palm Center commissioned and paid for in late 2006.  Upon closer analysis, the estimate of potential losses would be more than five times greater than 4,000. [7]  The prospect of losing thousands of personnel apparently did not disturb the panel members, however, because the military would become more "diverse" as a result.  This statement discredits the perception that the campaign to repeal the 1993 law is motivated by a concern for recruiting, retention, or any other factor associated with military necessity.

3.  Affirmative Action and Retroactive Consequences of a "Civil Rights" Standard

            If the civil rights model is followed in all matters involving homosexuals, it is likely that a wide array of disruptive policies will be implemented by bureaucrats or judges taking the principle to its logical conclusion.  That could mean recruiting quotas for gay personnel, the offer of enlistment to those previously denied, retroactive promotions, and financial settlements for persons claiming past discrimination. 

In a recent communication with the Center for Military Readiness, Campbell University Law Professor William Woodruff, an expert on the issue of homosexuals in the military, expressed concern that the full impact of applying the "civil rights" standard to homosexuals in the military could be imposed by the federal courts, based on legal and administrative precedents:

"We all know that the military has used various "affirmative action" measures to promote women and minorities.  Every selection board instruction by the secretary of the service tells the promotion board to look specifically at minorities and women and make sure they are given fair consideration for promotion because they may not have had the best assignments or gotten the best OERs-evaluations that need to be considered in that context.  This is a generalization, but some language in some promotion board instructions has actually been interpreted as an expectation of recruiting quotas.  

"Several successful court cases have resulted in back pay for officers non-selected for promotion or who have been forced into selective early retirement because women and minorities were given special consideration in the board's instructions. Should secretarial guidance to selection boards include similar language with regard to homosexuals?  Clearly, they have been subject to past "discrimination."  Should "affirmative action" be required to remedy those past "injustices?"  If so, what should the board's guidance be?  

"This opens a can of worms that most folks won't want to deal with.  But, in affirmative-action land a history of institutional discrimination is one of the factors that courts look to in determining whether quotas or other preferential policies are warranted.  I suggest that in context, homosexuals will have a stronger argument for affirmative action recruiting than women and minorities.  Will application of the affirmative action efforts require the service to "ask" about sexual orientation?  How else can you identify the people entitled to special consideration?"  [8]

            Before voting to repeal the 1993 law for "civil rights" reasons, members of Congress need to give serious thought to the cost of all potential consequences ─ legal, cultural, financial, and operational.  The next step is to answer an obvious question: How will all of these costs benefit discipline, morale, and readiness in the volunteer force?  None of these consequences would burden the military if Congress remembers that the institution exists to defend the country; it is not just another equal opportunity employer.

* * * * * * *

More information on this topic is posted on www.cmrlink.org in the Section titled "Problems with Homosexuals in the Military."  Legislative history of the law is analyzed in detail in an article that Elaine Donnelly wrote for the June 2007 Duke University Journal of Gender Law and Policy, titled "Constructing the Co-Ed Military."  

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