imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Marriage Activists Discuss “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011 at 3:12 AM
mgconlan@earthlink.net (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

Members of the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) discussed the bill Congress passed last December aimed at repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy excluding open Queers from serving in the U.S. military. The discussion, at their regular meeting January 11, revealed mixed feelings; S.A.M.E. members supported “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal as a civil rights issue, but many of them are also anti-war and want Queers to have the right to be in the military — and the good sense not to join.

Marriage Activists D...
obama_signs_dadt_repeal.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x412

Marriage Activists Discuss “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal

Say We Have the Right to Be in the Military, but Shouldn’t Do So

by MARK GABRISH CONLAN

Copyright © 2011 by Mark Gabrish Conlan for Zenger’s Newsmagazine • All rights reserved

PHOTO: President Obama signs the “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal bill into law. Courtesy of the White House.

“When you hear it’s repealed, you think of all the cool actions you could have done,” said Kelsey Hoffman of the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) at the beginning of their January 11 meeting in Hillcrest regarding the bill passed in the lame-duck session of the 111th Congress to repeal the so-called “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning Queers from serving openly in the U.S. military.

“I think it was a significant victory,” said attorney and S.A.M.E. member Ann Menasche. “It’s taken about 30 to 35 years — and now that it’s repealed, I’m going to be out there persuading people not to join.”

That paradoxical attitude was common among S.A.M.E. members and progressive Queers in general. Throughout the history of the U.S. military’s anti-Queer policies — the outright ban on Queers in the military that lasted until early 1993 and the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that replaced it — progressive Queer activists and their straight allies have wrestled with the issue. It’s been a dilemma because they’ve seen how important equal access to military service is as a civil-rights issue — but most of them are also peace activists who fundamentally object to what the U.S. military does.

One S.A.M.E. member summed up the dilemma when he said, “I have very mixed feelings. It’s increasing the military-industrial complex, but it’s also a good way of getting our voices out there.”

Other members noted that the bill passed in December 2010 doesn’t actually get rid of “don’t ask, don’t tell” once and for all. “It’s voting to start a process towards repeal,” said S.A.M.E. president Cecile Veillard. “Yes, it will be a huge victory when it’s final, but I’m just unimpressed with the pace of it. Why did it take so long? I’m also wondering how we get the next step [towards Queer equality] in a presumably Right-wing climate. So far, the Congress has said we’re good enough to fight and die in the military, but not to get married or hold other jobs.”

“I’m really surprised; I didn’t think it was going to happen,” said Chuck Stemke, a member of S.A.M.E. and the International Socialist Organization (ISO). “We have organized bigotry in this country … and if the Right is allowed to keep [a straight monopoly in] institutions like the military and marriage, that’s how they think they can keep control of people’s minds.”

“S.A.M.E. wasn’t born in response to ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ but I’m glad we took that as part of our demands,” said José Medina. “‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ has killed people, including Seaman August Provost (found dead on the U.S. Marine base at Camp Pendleton in June 2009 in an apparent anti-Queer hate crime).” Medina took pride in the four events S.A.M.E. either organized or participated in to demand repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” including protests at the Federal Building and the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot, a Harvey Milk Day action in Coronado and the “Patriots’ Pride” event in Oceanside. He also expressed the hope that “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal will make it easier to win marriage equality.

“I wasn’t particularly involved with ending ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,” said Sean Bohac, “but two significant events helped bring it about: the lawsuit filed by our friends in the Log Cabin Republican Club and high-profile activism by GetEQUAL and Lieutenant Dan Choi (a Gay Arabic-speaking linguist, fired under ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ who has announced he plans to re-enlist as soon as repeal is completed). I wonder if people outside the activist sphere recognize those names as much as I do. We could probably learn something from them.”

“I don’t believe we’d have seen ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ repealed in 2010 if not for the Gay revolt in 2008 and the constant pressure [from the activist community],” said Zakiya Khabir. “There are Gay and Transgender people in the military right now. It’s a huge blow against discrimination, and probably the most significant civil rights legislation we’ve ever achieved.”

Other people were concerned about the limitations of the bill Congress passed. Felicity Bradley complained that it still does not allow Transgender people to serve openly. Lisa Kove, civilian employee of the U.S. Department of Defense and executive director of DOD FED GLOBE (http://dodfedglobe.ning.com), an organization that works for the rights of Queer servicemembers and government employees, said she was “involved with every part of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ repeal, including negotiations behind the scenes.” Kove said she wants to see the Log Cabin Club continue their lawsuit to have “don’t ask, don’t tell” unconstitutional because the law just passed “does not set up a timeline” for repeal.

Indeed, Kove said that on both “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal and marriage equality she’s got stronger and more powerful support from Queer Republicans than Queer Democrats. She said the Log Cabin Club enthusiastically supported the actions targeting Arizona Senator John McCain, the Republicans’ 2008 Presidential candidate, for his opposition to “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal, while their counterpart, the National Stonewall Democrats, ducked any direct action on the issue. Kove announced that she’s leaving the Democratic party and changing her registration to “decline to state” so she can work with members of both major parties on Queer rights issues.

The U.S. military’s policies towards Queers have evolved slightly over the years but have always been motivated by prejudice and fear — though, as anti-“don’t ask, don’t tell” activists have pointed out, the rationale for excluding Queers from military service has changed over the years. Through most of the post-World War II period there was an absolute ban on Queers in the military — though sometimes there would be so-called “stop-loss orders” during actual wars so Queers would be kept in the ranks and not discharged until the wars ended and they were no longer needed as cannon fodder.

By the late 1970’s, excluding Queers from the military was pretty much left to the authority of local commanders, which meant that some units had open Queers serving without being hassled or threatened with discharge while others had witchhunts and threw them out en masse. When Ronald Reagan became President in 1981, commanders were ordered to throw out anyone they found or suspected of being Queer, whether they wanted to or not. Activists filed lawsuits and at least one servicemember, Perry Watkins, won an order demanding that the Army let him back in after having discharged him for being Gay.

In his 1992 Presidential campaign, Bill Clinton promised to repeal the ban on Queers in the military, but once he took office he reneged and agreed to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy as a compromise with opponents in the military and in Congress. The full name of the policy was “don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t harass, don’t pursue,” and it theoretically provided that Queers could serve in the U.S. military as long as they didn’t disclose their sexual orientation either publicly or to other servicemembers.

It was also designed to prevent the military from actively investigating and identifying Queer servicemembers to discharge them, but according to Queer activists, that part of the policy was never implemented. Queer-related discharges from the U.S. military actually increased during the first five years of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and the rate of discharges only started to slow when the U.S. got involved in a two-front war in Afghanistan and Iraq and once again needed Queers as cannon fodder.

Just as a series of lawsuits had targeted the ban on Queers in the military in the late 1980’s and led to concerns that a court would throw out the policy, a new round of lawsuits challenging “don’t ask, don’t tell” was filed in the late 2000’s. These actions, of which the most famous were the Log Cabin Club’s and Dan Choi’s, led some military leaders to decide that a bill from Congress starting a year-long process to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” was preferable to leaving the policy in place and risking a court decision that would order the military to eliminate it immediately.

Report this post as:

Local News

Marshall Tuck’s racist dog whistle O27 5:01AM

Marshall Tuck’s ethnocentrism contradicts Californian values O27 4:32AM

Contra Costa-Hawkins O25 3:48AM

Debunking Some Anti-Prop 10 Propaganda O12 6:56AM

Why Should California Choose De Leon Over Feinstein? O10 9:55PM

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen Heads to Portland, Oregon N20 8:39PM

Socialism in American English N20 12:04PM

Noske, noskisme réactualisé N20 11:29AM

Oprah Please Stop Selling Dead Animal Pieces N20 3:32AM

Down In Smoke SF N20 12:03AM

Credit Mr. Richard Enos with outstanding penmanship N19 6:08AM

Master list=====47 million american on foodstamp List State plus Federal N18 8:21PM

Cholesterol Medicine Causes Alzheimers N18 7:40PM

Lucifers Banker N18 7:38PM

Paraphysique du scientisme N18 9:19AM

USDA Withholds Names Of Turkey Companies Spreading Salmonella N17 7:51PM

Hebron, Ben-Gurion, and UNESCO N17 6:00PM

What Can Destroy Enclosure? N17 1:47PM

Please Help Mississippians Vote For Mike Espy On Nov 27th N17 7:42AM

The Incredible & Brilliant Work of Dr TOMO SHIBATA N17 5:19AM

October 2018 Honduras Coup update N16 9:22PM

Profit de guerre, guerre de profit N16 11:58AM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen Heads to Seattle N15 7:22PM

Paraphysique du prodrome oukase N15 12:39PM

President Trump: Hurricane Relief Should not Pay Puerto Rico Debt N14 8:54PM

94 Of Rick Scott's, Brian Kemp's, the Mississippi GOP's & Other Republican Campaign Crime N13 9:42PM

30 Of Brian Kemp's Felonious Racist Vote Suppression Crimes N13 8:42PM

Help translation of From Islam To Womanism book on IndieGoGo N13 12:04PM

COP 21, 25, 32, de l'écocide organisé N11 11:45PM

fbi & fmj are ' Lord of the Flies ' N11 8:26PM

Parangon d'une grande infestation N11 12:03AM

Video: Beautiful Country Burn Again, 39 min N10 10:19PM

OBAMA WERE POW'S LEFTBEHIND IN AFGHANISTAN IRAQ AND LIBYA N08 7:57PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy