LBGT's Fight for Military Rights, as Obama Struggles with His Promises

LBGT's Fight for Military Rights, as Obama Struggles with His Promises

On this Veteran's Day, we should take a moment to thank our military personnel for their service to our country.  There are many that have given their lives for the United States to protect the freedom and values of the American people.  And with the job market being stuck in pause, there are more applicants wanting to take advantage of what the military has to offer such as education, pension, and an opportunity to work in any number of departments in the military that are non-combat positions.

 

For some of those that are openly gay, lesbian or a transgender, joining the military is a difficult journey.  With the "don't' ask, don't tell" policy still in effect after an election that left many politicians on the sidelines that supported repealing the Clinton bill, the issue has become a hot potato that no one seems to want to touch, including President Obama.

 

One of Obama's many promises was to repeal this law allowing LBGT's to enlist in the military without bias and restrictions. He didn't act on the repeal when he had the House and Senate majority. Now, it seems that with so many Democrats that supported the appeal of the bill in the mid-term elections and lost their seat that the repeal may not get done in the lame-duck session.

 

Lobbyist for gay rights groups are rallying around the still in office politicians trying to get them to vote for an appeal before the new House and Senate is in office.  Obama is now supporting the appeal, but critics say that he waited too long.  With the economy and jobs being the biggest concern for voters, the issues of LBGT's in the military will most likely take a back seat in the current session in Congress. 

 

Yet, for those that counted on and voted for President Obama for his stance on gay rights in the military, he has failed them. Many gay rights activists are angered that one of their top priorities is coming down to a high-wire act just before the end of the year after two years of Democratic control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, with many months where they had a filibuster Senate majority.

 

Though the session starts on Monday, November 14 it is highly unlikely that anything will be done on this issue until December 1st when the Pentagon is scheduled to release its report on how ending the "don't ask, don't tell" policy would affect the overall military.  With Democrats running scared after losing seats in the mid-term and the issue of Bush tax-cuts appeal, combined with the Pentagon report that will most-likely be inconclusive; it appears that this Congress may not repeal the bill.

 

President Obama from the get go received no support for repealing the bill from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Pentagon military officials when he took office.  About 14,000 gay men and women have been discharged from the military under the policy from 1993-2009. Let's face it the old-guard military that have served our country for decades and control the decisions in the military come from an era of being forced into the closet".  If they were gay, they certainly didn't come out and say they were.

 

I liken this to the Catholic Church where gays and lesbians exist, but are never talked about.  It's another "don't ask, don't tell" environment that exudes hypocrisy, yet to change the rules of the Church threatens the demise of the religion for those that can not deal with the message that a priest or a nun could be gay.  Catholics don't want to know, they just want to practice their religion.  Our government seems to be following the same path as the Catholics.

 

So for now on this Veterans Days, I wish all the people that serve our country and want to, including the LBGT's, the best and thank you for your dedication and service.  Yes, I am a fallen Catholic and proud of it.

 

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  • There are only 55 LGBT-supportive votes in the US Senate. DADT Repeal is dead. Plus, the House is going to hold "hearings" on the matter.

    It's 1994 all over again. Let's not repeat the last 16 years - they weren't very effective. To make progress we need to educate, enlighten and enroll. Talk to neighbors, friends, co-workers and even strangers. We need people to stand with us - that supersedes party affiliation and religious persuasion. We need people to stand with us for the basic human principle of equality.

    Conversation beats confrontation. Get busy.

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