On Tuesday, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) was officially repealed. A new era for our military has been ushered in. The constant refrain has been that gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve honorably in the military, just like everyone else does. Of course, gays and lesbians already could serve honorably in the military — they just had to keep their private life private.
Most people don’t have a problem with gays and lesbians actually serving in the military. Honorable service was never an issue; there were plenty of gays and lesbians who did and still do serve their country with honor and courage. It’s the serving openly part. DADT allowed the military to remain neutral on the gay rights question that will inevitably begin to flood the military now that the repeal has taken effect. Gay marriage, benefits for spouses/partners, on-base housing, public displays of affection — these are all issues that the military will have to take a stance on. And while the current status is that gays and lesbians, and their partners, will not be eligible for these benefits, it doesn’t seem likely that they’ll be satisfied with that. How long will it be before they start campaigning for gay marriages to be recognized as well? For their partners to get benefits? To be able to live in base housing? Right now, transgender Americans are still not allowed to serve in the military. How long until they start fighting for that as well?
There’s also, of course, the issue of unit cohesion. Repealing DADT throws a huge wrinkle into that. Now they have to figure out a way to handle it if a straight service member isn’t comfortable sleeping in a foxhole next to a gay service member, or showering next to them. And will we see people using their sexual orientation as an excuse for why they didn’t get promoted, or why they were “unfairly” disciplined?
Repealing DADT opened all of these floodgates. The claim was that gays and lesbians just wanted to be able to serve honorably like everyone else. But is that really true, or is repealing DADT really about advancing the Left’s agenda to politicize every aspect of public life?