ABC News reports that Senate Democrats failed to overcome a Republican filibuster to repeal the military’s “don’t ask don’t tell” policy of gay service members in the military. Last January, President Obama promised a repeal of the policy, and since then control of the Senate has slipped below the 60 votes needed to get past a filibuster by a minority party.
Although banning gays in the military has been a policy since the World War II era, the current “don’t ask, don’t tell” has been enforced for 17 years, going back to the Clinton administration. Two Democrats joined every Republican in voting against the repeal of the military policy that would have let gays serve in the military pending a formal review by the Department of Defense.
Recent Controversies and Topics
Many hot topics have galvanized the gay community in support of full, equal rights for people who are openly homosexual. From serving in the military to gay marriage, both sides of the issue have influenced politicians and the court system to side one way or another.
Katherine Miller is now attending Yale and is ardently fighting “don’t ask don’t tell.” While at West Point, Miller endured harassment and feels that there’s no empirical evidence for continuing to ban gays in the military, according to the Middletown Press.
Miller was on track to graduate with honors from West Point. She contends that the policy is no longer necessary and that the military should allow gays into their ranks. Not only should gays have equal rights under the Constitution, but they should also be allowed to volunteer for the military should they feel like serving their country.
State of the Union
In January of 2010, President Obama stated in the State of the Union Address that “this year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally appeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.”
Since that time, the military is reviewing the policy and Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen will deliver that report in December. Senator Harry Reid has promised to take up the measure again later this year.
Many states have taken up the mantel of gay marriage. California’s Proposition 8 was approved by voters in a referendum but then the court system overturned the will of the voters, saying that the measure is unconstitutional.
Over the weekend, foes of Proposition 8 let their voices be heard. A 134-page legal brief was filed in a Federal Court of Appeals that is weighing a lower court’s decision to overturn the ban on gay marriage in California, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Opponents use the legal argument of precedent in the court system when it attempts to limit gay marriage.
At issue are equal rights for all citizens. This year it seems that a polarization has occurred regarding the rights of illegal immigrants and gays in the United States has taken up a lot of debate. In many polls, it is said that as many as 75 percent of Americans favor changing the military policy banning gays in the military.
Congress will act on the military policy regarding gays again in December after the Pentagon releases its findings. Perhaps then we will move closer to having equal rights for all and not just some.
ABC News, the Middletown Press, the White House, and the San Jose Mercury Newsprovided information for this article.