MAD AS HELL
DADT Repeal Fails In Senate
This publication has prided
itself on being relatively calm, even handed,
polite, and respectful in the optimistic hope of
influencing our public officials to support the
repeal of DADT by telling them the simple truth.
That's all down the toilet today; I'm mad as hell!
On Tuesday September 21st,
Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate Majority Leader,
scheduled a Cloture vote to block a Republican
filibuster which would prevent debate and a vote on
the National Defense Authorization Act. The NDAA included an amendment that would essentially
repeal the Don't Ask Don't Tell law. The
Cloture failed to pass; meaning that debate and
progressing to an actual vote on the Act was
blocked. And that means that legislative
repeal of DADT is essentially dead in the current
Congress, although it could be reconsidered in
There has been a lot of talk
about procedural mumbo jumbo but it's all a bunch of
bull. The fact is that the right wing
obstructionists want to win election by evoking raw
prejudice against gays, African Americans,
immigrants, and women's rights. They talk
about "taking America back." What they want is
to take America backward to a time of inequality and
exploitation, to a time when people were denied
basic human rights based on their race, religion, ethnic background,
and sexual orientation.
The President and Democratic
majority in Congress were swept into office on their
direct promise of ending discrimination and moving
forward instead of back to an earlier era of
disenfranchisement. And then what happened?
They got pragmatic and procedural and began
pandering to the right in fear of not getting
reelected. The promises were postponed.
They were not elected to be able to campaign for
reelection. They were elected to "Do the Right
It is not just the legislative
repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell that was cynically
shot down in the vote on September 21st. There
were several other important amendments to the
National Defense Authorization Act that died that
The Dream Act, also included
in the bill, would have allowed young immigrants,
who were brought here illegally as children by their
parents, to become citizens and serve in our
military if they completed high school and met other
requirements of good citizenship. So, in
addition to gay people being prevented from serving
in our military, young illegal immigrants aren't
allowed either; but American born criminals are
eagerly recruited with waivers. As I've noted
here before, my mother was an illegal immigrant to
America, escaping the Holocaust during WWII.
To pay my country back for my family's freedom, I
voluntarily served in our armed forces for ten
years, leaving as a Sgt. First Class. So,
there you are, horror of horrors, the homosexual
child of an illegal immigrant serving proudly and
honorably for a decade in America's military.
Also shot down in the vote was
another amendment "under Title XVI: Improved Sexual
Assault Prevention and Response in the Armed
Forces. This portion of the NDAA included language
concerning base transfers for survivors, options for
legal counsel, improving military protective orders,
and professionalizing Victim Advocates, all of which
would ensure the DoD works towards improving the
welfare of survivors of sexual assault. 'By failing
to break the NDAA filibuster, the Senate effectively
set back the equality, freedoms, and protections of
all women serving in our armed forces,'" according to Anu Bhagwati, former Marine Corps Captain, as quoted
Service Women's Action Network.
So, with one mean-spirited
vote, our nation's illustrious Senate has disallowed
or discouraged patriotic homosexuals, immigrants,
and women from volunteering to serve in our armed
So, what now, is the repeal of
DADT dead? Legislatively, perhaps. But
there have been several recent Federal District
Court decisions strongly ruling against DADT and
DADT discharges. DADT was, in fact ruled
unconstitutional. As of this writing, an
injunction against further discharges is pending in
that case. If the administration did nothing,
did not appeal, then DADT would come to and end.
So, now the ball is literally in the President's
court. It's up to him to
now keep his campaign promise, to keep his State
of the Union address promise, of ending DADT "this
year." All he has to do is to NOT do
something. He has been urged to not appeal by
many members of Congress, major newspapers, The Palm
Center, and many others. But, alas, the
President and his Attorney General seem poised to
appeal. This is real life, gentlemen, it's not
some Ivy League law school game of showing what an
exceptionally clever law student you are. It's
time to do the right thing.
Obstructionist bigots and
others are already shouting that this should be up
to our legislature, not the courts. Really?
American racial segregation was ended by our courts.
Our American system of government was founded on the
principal of three equal branches of government to
check and balance each other. That has worked
well so far, and is working well now.
So, ultimately, who should you
vote for in November? Vote for those who
support our rights. That rules out the
obstructionist bigots despite the fantasy some have
of making nice with them.
With the latest legislative
defeat, many who have spent years working to end
DADT are now discouraged enough to want to give up
in disgust. But, Danny Ingram, the President
American Veterans For Equal Rights, who was
among the first to be discharged under DADT, is
determined to battle on until the ban is lifted.
He reminds us all of our determination to serve, by
quoting from General Order 1, among the first words
we learned in basic training: "I will guard
everything within the limits of my post; and quit my
post only when properly relieved"
-Denny Meyer, Veteran
Contributing Editor: Andrea Egert
© 2010 Gay Military Signal