Gays in the Military

Topics: Homosexuality, Sexual orientation, LGBT Pages: 6 (2032 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Gays In the Military

Very often political institutions reflect the will of society and set the precedent for norms that will be expected of its members. The United States Military is still enforcing archaic policies which threaten to harm the principles our nation was founded upon. The principles of freedom and equality are those that every American holds closest to their heart, that is unless you are in the military and are gay. The issue of gays in the military has developed into a case of whether our country should discriminate against a group merely because of involuntary sexual orientation. Two persistent principles are evident within this topic: that homosexuals are ever present throughout all branches of the military and a persistent hostility against this group is in American society and the military. In order to effectively examine this topic the following concepts will be discussed: an analysis of the current Department Of Defense policy concerning gays, solutions to reduce homophobia in the military, a policy model concerning homosexuals in the military ( Lepicer 1-14 ).

Prior to the arrival of the Clinton Administration with its agenda to radically revise military policy regarding the acceptance and treatment of homosexuals, Department of Defense policy was well established and clear. Legal questions began to be raised in civilian courts challenging the military exclusion and discharge policies in the 1960's and 1970's. The services were forced to explain and clearly justify specific limits and procedures used in relation to service members claiming to be homosexual or convicted of such behavior. During the Carter Administration a clear policy was signed into law. It reads:

Homosexuality is incompatible with military service. The presence in the military environment of persons who engage in homosexual conduct or who, by their statements, demonstrate a propensity to engage in such conduct, seriously impairs the accomplishment of the military mission. The presence of such members adversely affects the ability of the Military Services to maintain discipline, good order, and morale: to foster mutual trust and confidence among service members; to ensure the integrity of the system of rank and command; to facilitate assignment and worldwide deployment of service members who frequently must live and work under close conditions affording minimal privacy; to recruit and retain members of the Military Services: to maintain the public acceptability of military service; and to prevent breaches of security ( Lepicer ).

Everyone agrees that gays were already in the military, but gays want to serve their country out of the closet. This concept pitted the gay community against the traditionalists who want to keep them out. The result is a compromising "Don't ask / Don't Tell" policy which prevents recruiters from inquiring about an enlistees sexual preference. The purpose of the military is to kill people and complete the mission at hand. Therefore anything that hinders the military from fulfilling this role is a potential threat to national security and must be looked at in an objective manner. The military's attitude towards homosexuals dates back to the Revolutionary War when General George Washington approved the discharge and court martial of an officer for attempted sodomy. Every year more than 800 service members are separated from the military based on sexual orientation. The Department Of Defense current policy is both discriminatory and ineffective. Homosexuals should have the right to serve their country as long as their job performance is not affected by their private life. Currently the military does not actively seek out and prosecute heterosexual service members who engage in sodomy but they will go to great lenghts to investigate mere claims of homosexual conduct. Often...
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