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Early Consequences of Military LGBT Law

August 2, 2012
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US Flag-RainbowClaims of "Success" Are Premature

In anticipation of LGBT Equality celebrations in the month of June, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered activists reportedly are working with the Defense Department to produce a report declaring "success" for President Obama's most valuable gift to his political base--repeal of the 1993 law that was always mislabeled "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT).

The catch-phrase continues to mislead when it is used to represent both past and current law at the same time.  Repeal of the 1993 law called DADT created a new policy, LGBT law, which has yet to be defined in regulations enforcing acceptance of professed lesbian, gay, bisexual and (eventually) transgender personnel in the military. 

From the standpoint of a tiny minority of LGBT personnel, repeal certainly was a "success" on September 21, the first day after repeal implementation.  It is too soon, however, to draw conclusions about the consequences of LGBT law and related policies for most people in the military.  The poor economy will continue to mask potential recruiting and retention problems for years to come. There have been some indicators, however, of developing problems. 

The April CMR Policy Analysis titled "Chilling Trend of Sexual Assault in the Military" cited revealing data buried in a recent Army "Gold Book" report on wartime personnel stress, and the most recent annual report of the Defense Department Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Office (SAPRO).  Here are some excerpts: 

  • Reports of sexual assault in all branches of the service have increased by 22% since FY 2007.  (SAPRO Report for FY 2011, April 2012, Exhibit 3, p. 34)      
  • Violent attacks and rapes in the Army have nearly doubled since 2006, rising from 663 in 2006 to 1,313 last year.  Of these, 5% were assaults of men. (Army Gold Book, Figure 111-25, p. 121).  
  • In all branches of the service, male sexual assault victims have increased significantly, from 10% in FY 2010 to 14% in restricted (confidential) reports, and 12% in unrestricted reports.  (SAPRO Report for FY 2011, p. 60, Exhibit 26, and p. 53, Exhibit 15.) 
  • The Gold Book report includes a caution: "The Army is currently monitoring same gender sex crime for a potential increase in forcible sodomy and other sex offenses related to the disassociation of homosexuality from the crime itself." (p. 122) 

Military Times Poll Raises Unanswered Questions

The most recent annual Military Times Poll (Mar. 12, 2012)  included some inconvenient indicators: 

Only 19% of active-duty/reserve respondents to the 2012 Military Times Poll said that someone "came out" in their units.  This is not surprising, since the number of people personally affected by the repeal in the previous six months was relatively small. 

Not all personnel are deployed, living in close quarters, or confronted with changes that the Pentagon still has not defined in legally-required regulations.  The percentage of discharges for homosexuality since 1993 was less than 1%, and only 1 of the 25 Military Times Poll respondents identifying themselves as gay (3% of 792) came out to their colleagues.   

Of the 19% having personal experience with the repeal, 73% reported "no impact."  However, the survey also showed that over four times as many respondents with personal experience (21%) reported negative results, compared to 5% who reported positive.  The 5% figure probably represents satisfied gay personnel, and those who were pleased by repeal of Bill Clinton's convoluted "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" administrative policy, which President George W. Bush could and should have eliminated long ago. 

Instead of spinning the story with pre-conceived conclusions, the Military Times should investigate why 21% of those with personal experience reported negative consequences from repeal.  Readers also would like to know why respondents saying that they "Accept Change" dropped from 24% to 12%, and those planning to stay in the military declined by one-fourth (4% down to 3%).  

The Pentagon has provided no procedures for military personnel to report problems (short of UCMJ violations) without fear of retribution and career penalties.  Since open dissent is not an option, objective reporting is more important, not less so. 

Update: LGBT Culture in the Military

Accommodation of various manifestations of LGBT culture have been unsettling in some areas.  Take, for example, a same-sex couple's homecoming at the Marine Corps Base in Hawaii that an official spokeswoman gratuitously described as  "Your typical homecoming photo."

In June, some activists invited by President Obama to celebrate June as LGBT Equality Month posted pictures of themselves insulting the portrait of Ronald Reagan.  And in July, the Defense Department suspended regulations to allow military personnel to march in the San Diego Gay Pride Parade

According to the Associated Press, dozens of uniformed military personnel marched alongside an old Army truck decorated with a 'Freedom to Serve' banner and a rainbow flag. 

Military uniforms are important and until now, strict rules were applied consistently: 

"For more than two centuries, the U.S. military never had a public celebration of anybody's sex life -- until the recent "gay pride" event under the Obama administration. Here, as elsewhere, the gay political agenda is not equality but privilege."

The fundamental question that was never answered in 2010 should be asked again: How does any of this benefit or strengthen America's military?

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