Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Supreme Court on Gays in the Military: Congress, It's Up to You

From the Center for American Progress this morning:

CIVIL RIGHTS -- SUPREME COURT DENIES CHALLENGE TO 'DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL': The Supreme Court yesterday refused to hear a challenge to an 1st Circuit appellate court decision on the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy, which had found that courts must defer to Congress on federal statutes regarding military affairs. The case was filed by "James E. Pietrangelo II, a former Army captain who was discharged from the military for being gay." But now, the Supreme Court's move "effectively leave[s] it to" Congress and the Obama administration "to resolve the long-standing controversial issue." Indeed, Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), co-sponsor of legislation to overturn DADT, said on MSNBC last night that "one way or another [a change] is going to come." The president and Congress have been slow to act on the repeal, even as pressure to reverse the ban is gaining momentum. A new poll shows that nearly 70 percent of Americans support openly gay men and women being allowed to serve in the U.S. military. But the poll also shows a 12-point increase in the percentage of conservatives who said they oppose the policy, from 46 percent in November 2004 to 58 percent now. Obama's new nominee for Secretary of the Army, James McHugh, has also hinted that he supports a repeal of the ban.

It's time, it's past time, for the President and the Congress to act and overturn this unjust legacy from the Clinton Administration. Surely we all know that sexual orientation says nothing about fitness to serve. (And if it did, I'm guessing that overall the military has many more discipline problems with heterosexual soldiers than it does gay ones.) Mr. President, it's time for you to speak up about this.

1 comment:

Desmond Ravenstone said...

The biggest argument supporters of the ban make is that allowing GLBT folk to serve openly will destroy “unit cohesion” and overall morale. Now polls of military personnel show that isn’t true. I’ve cited the details in my open letter to President Obama – and people can send their own emails here.