Un-American law silences gay soldiers
September 18, 2010 9:10 AM
When the word 'military' comes to mind, so does homogeny.
From the impeccable matching uniforms to synchronized marching, service members relinquish their identity to become a standardized representation of their country's strength and courage.
Whether it be haircuts or names, sameness is condoned in everything - except sexual orientation.
Sodomy was the first grounds for discharge in the military in the 18th century.
But, as if the Generals themselves didn't occasionally feel a little lonely for love in an all-male regiment, they extended the ban to anyone with same-sex preference.
Then, the discharges were considered neither positive nor negative.
But since the mid-20th century, Congress has ruled that homosexuality is "incompatible with the military" and gays have been forced to conceal their sexuality or be dishonorably discharged.
Sure, homosexual service members can hide their orientation. It's easy, right?
They can steer clear of social military events that require dates and never divulge any personal details about those they spend their off-hours with.
They can watch their colleagues freely express adoration for their spouses while they hide their partner's identities. Or perhaps they will never invite those "friends" over at all.
How un-American to let young men and women die for their country when they have not been given the opportunity to show their true identity.
Isn't individuality the essence of being American? Are they not already sacrificing enough by hiding their true selves?
Congress' reasons for enacting the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in 1993 was that homosexuality undermines morale and military readiness.
While the policy maintains some respect for service members by prohibiting officials from prying into their sexual orientation, maintaining a low profile within the military remains difficult.
Major Margaret Witt was discharged in 2004 after her lover's husband revealed her secret life in a note he wrote to the Air Force.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that by discharging her, the government had to prove that removal of any service member was the only way to significantly advance an important policy.
If Witt was competent in her duties, then her discharge, not her presence, would've hurt her unit.
Poor eyesight or physical deformation would be more grounds to remove a proficient service member.
Until the military stops treating homosexuality as a debilitating disease and accepts same-sex lovers, the enforcement of homogeny is a joke.
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