Monday, September 27, 2010

DADT's Hectic September

Boy, there's been a lot of action around Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) lately. Let's all follow the bouncing ball.

On Sept. 9, a federal judge in California declared DADT unconstitutional. Judge Virginia Phillips of Federal District Court struck down the military's ban on openly gay soldiers after the plaintiffs challenged the law under the First and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution. It was the Log Cabin Republicans that brought the suit.

On Sept. 10, every gay organization kicked itself for allowing the gay GOP'ers to get there first.

On Sept. 12, two gay and two lesbian soldiers, all DADT victims, escorted Lady Gaga to the MTV Video Music Awards. The five people involved wore dress uniforms—for Lady Gaga, an Alexander McQueen ensemble including tall gold feathers on her head is a dress uniform. The former military members looked dignified and handsome.

On Sept. 13, I wondered if I could get a military escort for going to Safeway.

On Sept. 20, Lady Gaga turned up in Portland, Maine, to speak at a rally aimed at pressuring the state's two senators to vote for DADT repeal. She suggested a new policy for straight soldiers who are "uncomfortable" being around gay soldiers.

She said, "Our new law is called 'If you don't like it, go home!'"

On Sept. 21, every American soldier in Afghanistan and Iraq claimed to be uncomfortable around gay soldiers and asked to go home.

Also on Sept. 21, political D-Day arrived. The "D" wound up standing for "Doofuses." In the Senate, each Republican and two Democrats voted against repealing DADT. Everybody accused everybody of playing politics, and everybody was right.

This vote was a blow to the gay solar plexus. But it's possible the Senate might address the issue again after the elections. We can hope during a lame-duck session the senators will act more like owls and less like ostriches.

Often in our struggles we've had to count on politicians, judges and voters treating us fairly because it was the right thing to do. Now we actually have public opinion on our side—according to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, over 75 percent of Americans think gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military. Such approval feels weird, but I could force myself to get used to it.

Again on Sept. 21, the GLBT site JoeMyGod.com reported on the Senate vote, and someone left this comment: "All Faggots must die." The message was traced to the office of Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

On Sept. 22, Chambliss' office issued a statement saying that so far it was unknown which person there left the comment. Then I issued a statement saying apparently the senator hires staffers with the soul of a plum pit.

On Sept. 23, U.S. government lawyers filed to stop Judge Phillips (see Sept. 9) from issuing an injunction that would immediately halt DADT. They argued she should confine any injunction to the 19,000 members of the Log Cabin Republicans.

Now there's a bizarre idea. Only Republican gays can be soldiers.

In further bizarreness, the White House tried to explain why government lawyers were defending a policy President Obama wants to eradicate. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs must go through Excedrin like candy.

On Sept. 24, a federal judge in Tacoma, Wash., ruled that Maj. Margaret Witt, a lesbian and decorated flight nurse booted from the Air Force, should get her job back. U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton, an active Republican, became emotional as he recalled some of Witt's testimony.

He decided her discharge advanced no legitimate military interest, and in fact weakened her squadron. So an open lesbian is going back to the military.

Two weeks of a DADT roller coaster. Forget cautiously optimistic--I'm nauseously optimistic.