Gays in the Military: A Losing Cause

by Elaine Donnelly

In two of the results from the midterm elections, there’s a useful lesson about one of Pres. Barack Obama’s highest priorities for the lame-duck session. Voters have defeated Army Iraq veteran Rep. Patrick Murphy (D., Penn.), the primary sponsor of legislation to repeal the so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Voters also rejected Senate candidate Joe Sestak, another Pennsylvania Democrat and a retired Navy admiral, who had wanted to be the primary sponsor of what became Murphy’s bill.

Murphy and Sestak tried to disguise their extreme social liberalism with the military uniforms they had previously worn. They assumed that their prior military service would make it safe for them to carry water for the LGBT Left, which is determined to impose the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered agenda on our men and women in the military. Both candidates were wrong. In contrast, Republican John McCain had no problem winning support from Arizona voters, even though he led the successful Senate fight to retain the law in September.

During his post-election news conference, President Obama reaffirmed his pledge to repeal the 1993 “Don’t Ask” law. He claimed that the general public favors repeal, but that was an unfortunate indication that the commander-in-chief still doesn’t get it.

The economy and Obamacare dominated both Pennsylvania races, but the election results vindicated the scientific survey of 1,000 likely voters that the Military Culture Coalition (MCC) commissioned in July. The MCC survey asked likely voters about their support for candidates who voted to repeal the 1993 law. Thirty percent of likely voters said they would be less likely to support such a candidate, and only 21 percent said they would be more likely to support that candidate. There is no political reason for senators and members of Congress who support the troops to vote to impose the LGBT Left agenda on the All-Volunteer Force.

Incumbents and future candidates should not assume that previous military experience, or support for some veterans’ causes but not the social concerns of active-duty troops, guarantee conservative voters’ support. In this election, eight of the ten military veterans who were endorsed by the conservative Vets for Freedom PAC won their races, but none of the candidates endorsed by the liberal Vote Vets group were elected.

President Obama also mentioned the Defense Department’s Working Group, which Secretary Robert Gates established in February to review the issue and publish a report in December. However, the purpose of the group was to explore ways to implement a repeal of the law, not to determine whether to repeal the law in the first place. In other words, the massive survey of the troops and focus-group meetings that the Pentagon panel conducted were based on the presumption that the policy was ending. All the data should be reevaluated or collected over again.

President Obama waved a hand at legal cases “bouncing around” the courts, and complained about the Pentagon’s confusion over which rules to follow. As I explained in this article, the complaint was disingenuous. Obama’s Defense Department caused needless chaos by temporarily bowing to San Diego District Judge Virginia Phillips, who sees herself as the Supreme Judicial Commander of the U.S. Military.

In September, Judge Phillips issued a worldwide ruling in the Log Cabin Republican case, ordering the Defense Department to stop enforcing the 1993 law. Judge Phillips’s outlandish order, which proved once again that federal judges are not qualified to make policy for the military, was stayed by the liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, pending appeal.

President Obama correctly stated that the issue should be non-partisan, but his relentless campaign is primarily motivated by his political promises to LGBT-Left activist groups. The Polling Company/WomanTrend, which conducted the MCCSurvey, found that 57 percent of likely voters agreed that President Obama’s push for repeal is motivated primarily by politics, not principle; 31 percent disagreed.

The MCC poll (margin of error: 3.1 percent) found that 48 percent of likely voters (67 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of independents) preferred that Congress retainthe law as it is. The overall 45 percent of support for repeal was a full 30 points less than the75 percent figure claimed in the March 2010 ABC News/Washington Post poll of adults. Fifty-seven percent of military personnel and family members surveyed said they support the current law.

The MCC Survey also found that only 1 percent of respondents saw repeal as a priority for Congress and the President in 2010. President Obama has said that in the coming months he wants to concentrate on really important matters, such as a strong economy and jobs. If he really means that, he should let the gays-in-the-military cause go.

– Elaine Donnelly is President of the Center for Military Readiness, an independent public-policy organization that specializes in military/social issues. More information is available at