The Web’s Leading Military Blog Since 2004
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: The Law
The Army’s regulation on homosexual conduct in the military, AR 600-20, states
A personâ€™s sexual orientation is considered a personal and private matter and is not a bar to
entry or continued service unless manifested by homosexual conduct
The military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy isn’t actually the military’s policy. In fact, it’s the law. According to the Constitution of the United States (yeah, I know, what is that again?), it is the job of Congress to “raise and support Armies” and “provide and maintain a Navy”. With those responsibilities in mind, Congress passed and the President signed into law the military’s policy on homosexual conduct in 1993. The legislation amended Title 10, the section of law that governs military activities. I’ve discussed this already and flushed out a lot of my personal feelings before on this topic.
The law acknowledges the realities that the “presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.”
It admits that there is a fundamental difference between military life and civilian life. Success in combat requires military units that are characterized by high morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion. The main problem with integrating openly homosexual individuals into the military is that it directly affects each of those. According to the actual LAW, “The prohibition against homosexual conduct is a longstanding element of military law that continues to be necessary in the unique circumstances of military service.”
Basically, according to LAW, homosexuals are actually prohibited from serving in the military. So, it’s a bit odd that our regulations state that “a personâ€™s sexual orientation is considered a personal and private matter and is not a bar to entry or continued service unless manifested by homosexual conduct.” This actually directly contradicts the law of the land.
In a recent Military Times Poll, 9% of those polled said they would NOT re-enlist or extend if the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy was overturned. There are approximately 2.3 million members of the military, including all branches and Reserve forces. If 9% of that refuses to re-enlist or extend the military will lose over 203,000 troops to accommodate for a small group of openly homosexual individuals to serve. Another 14% would “consider” not re-enlisting or extending. Take away another 322,000 troops for a total possible loss of over a half million troops.
Can anyone tell me that we will make up those numbers with homosexual troops? To be honest, I’m not one of the 9% or the 14%. I have no problems with homosexuals personally. Congress explained it just as good as I could in the law that was passed in 1994:
`(1) Section 8 of article I of the Constitution of the United States commits exclusively to the Congress the powers to raise and support armies, provide and maintain a Navy, and make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.
`(2) There is no constitutional right to serve in the armed forces.
`(3) Pursuant to the powers conferred by section 8 of article I of the Constitution of the United States, it lies within the discretion of the Congress to establish qualifications for and conditions of service in the armed forces.
`(4) The primary purpose of the armed forces is to prepare for and to prevail in combat should the need arise.
`(5) The conduct of military operations requires members of the armed forces to make extraordinary sacrifices, including the ultimate sacrifice, in order to provide for the common defense.
`(6) Success in combat requires military units that are characterized by high morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion.
`(7) One of the most critical elements in combat capability is unit cohesion, that is, the bonds of trust among individual service members that make the combat effectiveness of a military unit greater than the sum of the combat effectiveness of the individual unit members.
`(8) Military life is fundamentally different from civilian life in that–
`(A) the extraordinary responsibilities of the armed forces, the unique conditions of military service, and the critical role of unit cohesion, require that the military community, while subject to civilian control, exist as a specialized society; and
`(B) the military society is characterized by its own laws, rules, customs, and traditions, including numerous restrictions on personal behavior, that would not be acceptable in civilian society.
`(9) The standards of conduct for members of the armed forces regulate a member’s life for 24 hours each day beginning at the moment the member enters military status and not ending until that person is discharged or otherwise separated from the armed forces.
`(10) Those standards of conduct, including the Uniform Code of Military Justice, apply to a member of the armed forces at all times that the member has a military status, whether the member is on base or off base, and whether the member is on duty or off duty.
`(11) The pervasive application of the standards of conduct is necessary because members of the armed forces must be ready at all times for worldwide deployment to a combat environment.
`(12) The worldwide deployment of United States military forces, the international responsibilities of the United States, and the potential for involvement of the armed forces in actual combat routinely make it necessary for members of the armed forces involuntarily to accept living conditions and working conditions that are often spartan, primitive, and characterized by forced intimacy with little or no privacy.
`(13) The prohibition against homosexual conduct is a longstanding element of military law that continues to be necessary in the unique circumstances of military service.
`(14) The armed forces must maintain personnel policies that exclude persons whose presence in the armed forces would create an unacceptable risk to the armed forces’ high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.
`(15) The presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.
Why am I bringing all this up? Because the military gets a bad rap for following THE LAW (even though our regulations directly contradict the law by allowing them to serve in the closet). I will support any decision the military or Congress makes with respect to homosexual service, whether I agree with it or not. Of course, I wouldn’t have much longer to worry about it if the law were ever changed anyway. The main reason is that the LBGT community is lobbying like crazy to get the policy changed! So, I’m lobbying against it.