There was great disagreement on all sides when the Obama administration and the Congress decided to do away with the military policy of don’t ask, don’t tell that has been in place since the Clinton administration. As a parting shot, the Democrat held 111th Congress, lead by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, overturned the policy that allowed gays to serve in the military as long as they did not do so in an open manner. President Obama quickly signed the bill into law in December of 2010.
Despite an overwhelming rebuke from the electorate, the Democrats, in a pure payback to their base, used their waning days of control to ramrod the repeal through. A number of military leaders voiced concern over changing a policy that has worked for nearly 2 decades while potentially creating unit cohesion issues in the midst of 2 wars. Top military brass have accepted publically the end to the policy and have been working towards the administration’s view of the openly gay serving in the military. Since the December repeal, each branch of the armed services has been formulating an implementation plan and instituting training to insure fair, safe and seamless integration of openly gay soldiers.
The military’s implementation process has now been thrown a curve ball as the liberal 9th Circuit Appeals Court, operating in Nancy Pelosi’s backyard, has issued an order stopping the U.S. military from enforcing “don’t ask, don’t tell” immediately. The court, in its infinite wisdom, has changed the course of orderly transition into a flip of the switch, without concern for the effects on U.S. forces.
The legal battle, however, will certainly continue, yet the military must comply with the order until and unless the Supreme Court takes action. The Obama administration is in the odd position of having to fight in the courts to slow the process down by filing court motions to keep the path progressing as planned. Military officials have said that the changes eliminating “don’t ask, don’t tell” will now have to be completed within a few weeks.
“The circumstances and balance of hardships have changed,” said the three-judge 9th District panel, concluding that as a result, “don’t ask, don’t tell” cannot remain in place.
The Obama administration must appeal to the Supreme Court to delay the 9th Districts order after they upheld an earlier order keeping the policy in place.
The intent of the bill passed in December was a gradual implement to a fully open environment but will now become a problem for newly confirmed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Once full repeal has been instituted any current investigations of gay and lesbian service members become moot. With the order from the 9th District, actions in process for violation under the existing law will be put on hold pending action from the Supreme Court.
Gay rights groups say the policy, even while being discarded, violates the due process and First Amendment rights of military members. Log Cabin Republicans that pursued the order said allowing the policy to remain in effect pending appeal would be unacceptable and would cause “irreparable harm.”
The Obama administration, supported by Pentagon officials, argued that suspending the policy and forcing the military to immediately change course while the case is being appealed would cause problems during a time of war.
“The military should not be required to suddenly and immediately restructure a major personnel policy that has been in place for years, particularly during a time when the nation is involved in combat operations overseas,” said the government in its legal brief.
Gays have served honorably in the military for decades and are no less heroes than any other soldier; however the sexual inclination of soldiers has never been an interest of the military. We send our military to fight wars, not find a suitable life-partner. Is it now fair to ask a soldier if they prefer red-heads or blonds? Tall or short? Should each member of the military feel free to proclaim at the top of their voice, “I like my men to have hairy chests!”
The entire issue is ridiculous. A simple policy whereas the sexual preference of any soldier is of no concern to the U.S. and discriminating against an individual based on sexual preference is a violation of military rules should suffice. We’ve elevated a non-issue to super stature because a particular segment of the population feels discriminated against. After more than 2 hundred years, why do the activist judges of the 9th District believe that a few more months will somehow cause irreparable damage to gay and lesbian soldiers or sailors? They didn’t say and nowhere has the term serving openly been clearly defined. Expect more lawsuits from both sides as another created crisis wastes millions of taxpayer dollars.