Even with the recent repeal of America’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy concerning the service of gay and bisexual men and women in the U.S. military, much opposition still remains. The policy was implemented in 1993, and after much debate and argument, repealed on September 23, 2011.
The opposing camps consist of white evangelicals, politicians, religious leaders, anti-gay activists and other types of psychopaths. The scrutiny seems to revolve around the issue that the repeal of the policy may cause a disruption to the cohesiveness of fighting units. Opponents indicate that homosexuals and heterosexuals must live in close proximity to one another, share barracks and often shower together. These close quarters are not appropriate for homosexuals and heterosexuals, according to the opponents.
Supporters of the repealed policy say that it’s not so much a soldier’s orientation that is objectionable, but the behaviors that he or she may commit; their orientation is a behavioral issue. However, sexual orientation is not about behavior, but about an enduring biological issue.
It seems that many opponents of the repeal naturally assume that gay men and women who serve openly in the military will automatically begin offering themselves as escorts to fellow soldiers while living and showering in close proximity. Sexual activity and the exchange of sensual favors like those offered by the typical escort will occur more often, according to the latent gay logic of the repeal skeptics.
It is surmised that service members who openly serve as a gay man or woman may reduce the number of other “straight” enlistees because they do not want to serve with others whose sexual orientation differs from their own. Service members may become threatened and believe that they are being sized up as potential sex partners, say anti-gay protestors. However, according to Zack Ford at Think Progress, the Pentagon recently completed a study that indicates that service members don’t care about serving next to gay soldiers.
The concept of discriminating against a soldier’s sexual orientation has been often compared to discriminating against a soldier based on the color of his skin and racial background. In 1941, Colonel Eugene Householder said, “The Army is not a sociological experiment. Experimenting with Army policy, especially in a time of war, would pose a danger to efficiency, discipline and moral and would result in ultimate defeat.” He was talking about racial segregation, however this statement has been used to describe at least one politician’s views on the integration of openly gay men and women into service positions in the U.S. military.
Currently, there are nearly 66,000 openly gay and bisexual men and women serving in the U.S. military worldwide. To reverse the repeal at this point would be nearly impossible. Any policies created to regulate admission to the U.S. armed forces based on orientation would be discriminatory and cause great changes to already amended rules and policies.
However, conduct may be regulated. Just as heterosexual relations between soldiers and officers are forbidden, the behavior of homosexual and bisexual service members can be limited, as well. The guidelines have nothing to do with social policy, but they extend to conduct and efforts to retain the high moral standing of members of the U.S. military.
Just as visiting escorts are discouraged for heterosexual service members, this type of behavior is discouraged for homosexual and bisexual service members. Performing sexual favors for other soldiers for promotion or special privileges is forbidden for heterosexual members of the military; the same can be said for same-sex escort services of homosexual and bisexual members of the armed forces.
The negative connotations and attitudes of gay and bisexual men and women serving in the military have been an issue since the first days of the U.S. Continental Army existence. It is no surprise that this issue is an ongoing hotbed of debate and conflict.