Radical Right Reacts to DADT Votes
The fringe right's has reacted to votes by the Senate Armed Forces Committee and the full U.S. House of Representatives last week to set aside the anti-gay law that bars openly gay troops from service. A fresh slew of anti-gay rhetoric has erupted; the fringe right's rhetoric also seeks to paint the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as being "derelict" in his duty, and accuses conservative pundits of not speaking out against the votes.
An anti-gay group dedicated to keeping open GLBT servicemembers out of uniform has declared Navy Adm. Mike Mullen to be "derelict" in his duties, reported religious site OneNewsNow.com in a June 1 article.
"As the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, [Mullen] does not have operational responsibilities," the leader of anti-gay organization the Center for Military Readiness (CMR), Elaine Donnelly, declared. "His sole role is to convey to the president the best professional advice of the other four services.
"He did not do that," Donnelly went on. "Instead, he served as a conduit for the political views of the president. In other words, [Mullen] conveyed views from the president on down rather [than] from the other service chiefs on up. That, I think, was a dereliction of his duty."
Mullen, together with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, announced a plan earlier this year to review the anti-gay policy in order to determine how best to implement a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, which allows gay and lesbian troops to serve in uniform only so long as they do not own up to their true sexuality. Critics of the ban say that it infringes on the integrity of gay troops by requiring them to lie. DADT opponents also say that the ban--which is predicated on claims that morale and discipline would collapse in the U.S. fighting forces if gays were allowed to serve openly--is an insult the integrity and professionalism of the nation's uniformed patriots.
But others see military life and homosexuality as inherently incompatible. The experience of America's allies in having set aside their own ban on gay soldiers--with no ill effect on morale and good order--contradicts those claims. But even some supporters of DADT's repeal, Mullen included, have said they would have preferred that Congress had not acted on the issue before the yearlong review was complete.
"Ideally, I would certainly have preferred that legislation not be brought forward in terms of the change until we are completed with that review," Mullen told the media, a May 31 Associated Press article said. "It is really critical to understand the points of view of those it will affect the most as we look at the implementation challenges, should the law change," Mullen added, referring to a process of surveying servicemembers and their families on how to best go about repealing the ban.
An unnamed "senior defense official" told the AP that some military members felt they had been "double-crossed" after being told that Congress would not take any action on the matter before their opinions could be factored in.
But advocates of the ban have noted that delaying action until completion of the yearlong review could mean delay for years to come, since the review will not end until after the November midterm elections. Republicans, feeling the pressure from Tea Party-backed challengers, have targeted DADT as one expedient campaign issue. Significant Democratic losses in the fall could return Congressional control to Republicans, and DADT's repeal could fall by the wayside--even though polls show that a decisive majority of Americans think it's time for the military to be fully integrated.
The current measures in the House and Senate give the Pentagon the rest of the year to complete the study on how to repeal DADT, and stipulate that the repeal will not come into effect until the president and top military officials certify that the repeal will not harm the military.
"So we will complete that review and certainly incorporate what we learned from that into implementation when that time comes," Mullen told the press.
Meantime, GLBT site Pam's House Blend chided OneNewsNow on May 28 for an earlier article on the Congressional votes in which an Associated Press article was re-written without a change in the story's byline.
The original May 27 AP item, by Jim Abrams, began, "Congress has taken two big steps toward ending the "don't ask, don't tell" ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.
"In quick succession Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee and the full House of Representatives approved measures to repeal the 1993 law that allows gay people to serve in the armed services only if they hide their sexual orientation," the article continued, in its original form.
As re-written and posted at OneNewsNow, however, the article--the byline of which was not modified, and including the AP logo--read, "Congress has given in to pressure from gay activists and the White House and voted to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.
"In quick succession Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee and the full House approved measures to repeal the 1993 law that allows gay people to serve in the armed services only if they hide their sexual orientation," the re-written article continued.
"No one should be surprised," the Pam's House Blend article read. "One News Now is owned by the American Family Association, the same organization which employs Bryan Fischer. Fischer thinks that lgbts caused the Holocaust. And aside from that, usually One News Now is a sounding board for other one-sided articles against the lgbt community (its polls are a slanted colossal joke).
"But even after taking all of that into account, editing a story for the sake of spin strikes me as especially sleazy, even for them," the article continued.
Anti-gay blog Americans for Truth About Homosexuality posted its own response to the Congressional vote, with blogger Peter LaBarbera re-posting an article by Bob Knight, of the anti-gay religious organization Coral Ridge Ministries. LaBarbera introduced Knight's op-ed by saying, "In addition to contacting Congress on homosexuals-in-the-military, we need to be urging conservative media to get engaged in the fight to stop our Armed Forces from becoming the next 'battlefield' for Sexual Correctness."
Knight's article slammed conservative pundits for what he characterized as a failure to address the Congressional votes, and warned of an array of sweeping legal changes that would engulf America if gay troops were allowed to stop lying about themselves.
"Barney Frank and his friends are rolling their tanks through Congress while everyone is talking about something else," Knight wrote. "As we reel from one crisis to the next, homosexual activists and their allies are muscling through their agenda, with nary a peep from the nation's conservative talking heads.
"This week, their target is the military," Knight wrote, going on to issue grim warnings: "Soon, it will be passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would criminalize traditional morality in every workplace with 15 or more employees. After that, they will try to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act. Finally, they aim to pass an 'anti-bullying' law that will threaten schools with losing federal funds if they refuse to force kids to read Heather Has Two Mommies and Gloria Goes to Gay Pride. The agenda is breathtakingly ambitious, and would be unimaginable to previous generations."
The article went on from there to denounce scientific research into the question of genetic links to homosexuality as "junk science," and to accuse the mainstream media of being "a fully-owned subsidiary of the gay activist movement. They march in lockstep according to the dictates of the 1989 gay strategy manual After the Ball, which describes in detail how to vilify anyone who disagrees." The article also purported to prove that repealing DADT would lead to increased instances of same-gender sexual assault in the military, and went on to intone dire predictions of the "criminalization of Christianity."
Last week, the Family Research Council also warned that repealing DADT would open the door to sexual predation by gays against their straight comrades-in-arms. The Family Research Council has featured in recent news articles following the revelation that the anti-gay group's co-founder, George Rekers, took a European vacation in the paid company of a male escort hired through RentBoy.com.
The full senate is expected to vote on the repeal measure later this week.