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02 February 2010


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"Adultery, for example, is illegal. ... will it not be necessary in fairness to remove all such restrictions."

Doesn't the answer depend on the exact reason used for ending DADT?

As an analogy, the gov't can't tax use of Virginia tobacco, but it can tax all tobacco use even though that tax harms one state more than another.

I think laws that prohibit polygamy or adultry are like the latter case. Likewise prohibiting military service below a given age. *If* it's true that prohibiting service just between open gays is like the former case, then this doesn't have to lead to polygamy. Everyone could be forbidden from picking more than one spouse at a time because it's everyone.

(I'm not talking right or wrong here. Just precedent.)

Patrick Lang


Since gay people can not marry in most jurisdictions, then all military people will not be allowed to marry? Does that not follow from the principle of "evening out" the rules. pl



Other nations (the UK and Australia come to mind) have lifted their former bans on open service by gays in the military, and have seemed to muddle through without too much trouble. Why do you think that things would turn out differently with the US military?

Patrick Lang


not at all.

i was a member once of a board in the 8th SF Group in which we had to contemplate what to do with a SSG (real SF) who was caught receiving oral sex from a Spec 4 from our attached MI detachment by the Canal Zone police in a parking lot. The SSG's defense was that the other guy was "queer." We boarded them both out of the Army. How sad. They were probably both good soldiers.

We are not the UK nor Australia.

I have many other tales to tell. My point is that this change will be a profound trauma.

Is your community worth that trauma? Will you die for us?


Allen Thomson

I have to agree with Guamguy: If such things were just to be relegated into the "not worth worrying about" category, things would probably work out just fine.


Col. Lang,
I find your attitude on this matter more open minded than some in your generation. Certainly, more open minded than those non-military men O'Hanlon and Kristol of a later generation.

The military should keep the best of the best for the job, be they straight or gay. The UCMJ may need to be tweaked a bit until marriage is universal for all.

I've always thought gays and lesbians should be able to marry and be as happy or miserable as their straight counterparts.


I believe it to be a fact, fairly well established now, that people known by the label homosexual don't choose to be as they are, but are made that way -- by their Creator if you will. Certainly I've not encountered one in 45+ years who chose the "orientation." The existence of a so-called "gay lifestyle" is another issue, I think, related to prejudice and persecution over time. Almost none of the gays and lesbians I'm acquainted with practice it.

Patrick Moynihan famously said, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinions, not to his own facts." I expect that even among the populations the American military recruits from, facts about this subject are starting to battle successfully with ancient opinions.

I agree with the Colonel's view that armies (and navies, etc.,) aren't analogous to college dorms. But, as POTUS apparently knows, we have to begin somewhere, and perhaps it's here and now.

Patrick Lang


"I believe it to be a fact, fairly well established now, that people known by the label homosexual don't choose to be as they are, but are made that way -- by their Creator if you will"

Established by what? I would welcome definitive scientfic proof. Sometime ago I saw a TV production that argued that homosexuals are the products of variegated fetal production. Is that your position? I can accept that. pl


I can see one major legislative challenge quite apart from the difficulties of amending the UCMJ:


It will not only be necessary to amend the UCMJ, but also DOMA. Modifying or repealing DOMA opens up a potential nightmare of litigation between the states who have passed different interpretations of what marriage is.

My personal rule of thumb would be "can you describe the regulation in gender neutral terms?" If yes, it's not incompatible with allowing same sex partnerships.


"Since gay people can not marry in most jurisdictions, then all military people will not be allowed to marry? Does that not follow from the principle of "evening out" the rules."


Perhaps it might! Ouch.

If gays could marry, this incongruity wouldn't exist. The problem is that we are asking the military to make an adjustment that America as a whole is still uncertain about.


I think the answer here is to let the Military Personnel vote on this. If it fails then put it up for a vote every few years as eventually it will pass. Granted allowing them to vote is a little unorthodox but they have earned that right over the past decade.

As to Polyandry.....I learn something new every time I look at this site.


You say "I suppose that some will raise the issue of racial integration as an example of how well such a change will go."

Do you discount this analogy? Why or why not?

BTW, there's plenty of new research about homosexuality not being a choice:

Penalizing people for just being who they are has never been a winning policy.


What a glimpse into the bigotry of our time! This was like reading an article in a history book about the horrors that would ensue from allowing women into the corporate workplace. ("Would ANYTHING go?") Or the dangers of allowing a full vote for an inferior slave race.

Patrick Lang


Why should we care in an institution that is about national survival and not about social justice? pl


Col. Lang - It's been decades since the armed forces were about national survival and not an extension of foreign and economic policy. Be that as it may, I think the parallel to integration in the armed forces is quite close. Recall that anti-miscegenation laws were in effect in certain states until the 1960s. There is already a variety of regulations controlling who in the armed forces can have sex and when, I don't think it's an insurmountable problem to adjust them for a few new situations.

I think in 20 or 30 years we'll look back at this controversy the same way we view integration today.


Some of the greatest military minds in history were homosexuals, or bi-sexual. Think Alexander the Great and Caesar (maybe). Consider also the Emperor Trajan, and Hadrian, who was very military minded.

And, for armies of homosexuals, who can forget the Spartans and the Sacred Band of Thebes? There is also increasing archeological evidence that the Amazons were real, not myth.

Admittedly, these examples are all from the Classical World, when the main issue was not so much the gender of the person being penetrated, but rather the perceived virility of the penetrator.

Of course, we don't live in the Classical World, but it seems to me that if the U.S. Navy can now handle women on carriers, limited experimentation with gays in the military might be tried to see just how "prejudical to good order and discipline" they might be in combat.

Regardless of gender, one proscription must be maintained: no fraternization among people linked in the same chain of command.


"I think the answer here is to let the Military Personnel vote on this"

Does that strike anyone else as an insanely bad precedent to set?

Patrick Lang


yes. the SSG I talked about said that since he wasn't sucking he was not queer. It was the other guy. Do you agree? pl


My father is black and has described integration back in WWII to me. It was a great moment in our history. But, much of the country was at war in some way or other including at least some sacrifice at home.

I support gay rights including the right to marry and adopt children, but do we want to ask more of the military now? Blacks were told to "wait" for decades leading up to the civil rights movement.
That is a shameful tradition. (My father had to travel to a different state to be allowed to marry his white wife who was then disowned by her Jewish family.) However, a picture of me explaining to a soldier why he needs to adjust right now looks pretty bad. That isn't narcissism. Any action of Congress comes from us.


yes. the SSG I talked about said that since he wasn't sucking he was not queer. It was the other guy. Do you agree?

Er, no. But thanks for asking: your comment gives me a great excuse to link that timeless piece by "Bruce Heffernan" in The Onion, http://www.theonion.com/content/node/33540>Why Do All These Homosexuals Keep Sucking My Cock?

I admit this topic--gays in the military--is out of my labor grade. I don't know the difference between an "SSG" and an "SF" for example. I've also never been shot at in combat or elsewhere, so can't opine on the effects that having a gay foxhole mate would have on one's ability to fight. The closest I've seen to discussion of this was in all the grunts' homoerotic comments and jokes in HBO's "Generation Kill," and of course that was "fact-based" rather than fact. It certainly raised the question whether uber-macho Rudy Reyes would have been accepted if he was openly gay.



I guess I am ambivilent overall on this one. No question there is a generational split inside the services itself (along with the the splits along racial, regional and class lines). Also unquestionable is the prospect of turmoil and internal conflict that will precede the official changes that come.

This ultimately comes down to good order and discipline. Not unlike in gender integrated units. This is a dynamic problem, heavily dependent upon the leaders and their styles, and best managed at a unit level.

One thing Mullen said yesterday, something long on the minds of me and my peers, is the inherent conflict DADT establishes with the services' core values among which is integrity. On this I am in violent agreement.

That said, POTUS scored a cheap political point in his speech (making up for past missteps with a vocal special interest), Pentagon leadership saluted and said "yse sir" and now the clown show in Congress has a new topic to distract them from really being a partner in our government. In short, mission accomplished.

Sadly, all of this could have been done much easier by simply directing Gates et al to administratively slow roll DADT discharges (eg, make the documentary standards higher for a DADT discharge) under the premise of avoiding attrition (especially in high demand, low inventory skills like linguists). There was no need for public flailing, hearing spectacles and reviving culture wars.


Patrick Lang


Staff Sergeant = SSG
SF = Special Forces


Patrick Lang


Integration of the armed forces took place during the Korean War. pl

R Whitman

I come from a generation even older than you, Pat. I can remember a Major being discharged from my outfit for being caught in a homosexual act. Most in the unit thought it was a shame, since he had 19 years, 9 months in. Only 3 months away from the magic 20.

Two comments that I have:
1. The culture has changed quite a bit. My place of residence, Houston(not known as a bastion of liberalism) elected a Lesbian mayor this past year. Her sexual status was not even a minor issue in the race. A few wingnuts tried but they were ignored.
2.My grandaughters who are 23 and 19 consider homosexual behavior about the same way they consider lefthandedness.(adapted from George Will).We need acceptance data from newly enlisted recruits and newly commissioned officers, not long serving individuals before the military makes any changes.

Patrick Lang


Neither of them was Latino but the attitude was the same and shared by some members of the board. pl

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