The Corner

On Tuesday, the Senate Protected the Military

Much to the dismay of the New York Times, on Tuesday the U.S. Senate refused to be rushed into voting for repeal of the 1993 law regarding homosexuals in the military. Forty-two senators of both parties stepped up to fulfill their constitutional responsibility to provide oversight in matters affecting the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, and it was a huge victory for the United States armed forces.

The military is a strong institution, but the fact that it is subject to civilian control makes it vulnerable to political pressures from activist groups that do not understand the military’s unique culture and mission. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Pres. Barack Obama tried to use the defense bill to score political points with LGBT activists and other groups they are counting on to get reelected.

The annual Defense Authorization Act should be used to strengthen our armed forces, not to provide political payoffs to liberal constituency groups. Fortunately, 42 responsible senators rejected Harry Reid’s self-serving attempt to force a pre-election vote on legislation that would have imposed an LGBT policy on our military, authorized abortions in military hospitals, and circumvented orderly systems for legal immigration.

If passed by Congress, the Obama administration’s “Repeal Deal” for gays in the military would have revoked Section 654, Title 10, U.S.C., which is usually confused with Bill Clinton’s inconsistent administrative policy, called “don’t ask, don’t tell.”  In 1993, members of Congress rejected the “don’t ask, don’t tell” concept because they anticipated the confusion and problems that gay activists complain of today. Everyone can serve our country in some way, but by law homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered individuals are not eligible to serve in the military.

If this Congress repeals the law with “delayed implementation” (a meaningless charade, since Obama, Mullen, and Gates already are on record favoring repeal), all military branches and communities would be required to accept and promote LGBT personnel in living conditions offering little or no privacy on a 24/7, retroactive basis. According to simplistic “roadmap” plans promoted by LGBT activists, hapless field commanders would be expected to tame the powerful and sometimes unruly force of human sexuality. New issues involving male/male and female/female sexual entanglements would complicate and hurt morale, recruiting, and retention — elements that are essential to maintain our all-volunteer force.

Guided by civilian LGBT “diversity training” programs, politically correct Defense Department bureaucrats would issue unrealistic directives wrapped in the ill-fitting cloak of “civil rights” and enforced with “zero tolerance” of dissent. As military officials have admitted in unguarded moments and as gay activists have never denied, corollary “zero tolerance” policies would deny promotions to anyone who dissents for any reason. Intolerance in the name of tolerance would end the careers of thousands of chaplains and experienced personnel who are current and future military leaders.

Unlike the racial integration ordered by President Truman in 1948, none of this would improve or benefit the armed forces. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates only talks about “mitigating” anticipated problems. Tuesday’s vote protected the right of our military men and women to be heard in this debate — an opportunity they would have been denied otherwise. We hope that we will never again see such a blatant attempt to use the defense bill for political payoffs and misguided expediency. Our military is the finest in the world, and we intend to keep it that way.

Elaine Donnelly is president of the Center for Military Readiness.

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