Tag Archives: DADT

Could the nature of DADT politics be partially economic?

Dear Tad,

Recently, as most of us already know, we witnessed the United States Senate once again throwing gay Americans under the bus. We know this fight continues in the court system, with the Witt case being the most prominent example. However, what is the real fear behind the US Military not being able to repeal this law? Could it be, due in part, economic? Could we be so cynical as to believe that the US Government essentially would not want to fund the spouses of gay service members?

Imagine for a moment, if you will, the very possibility that allowing gay Americans their human rights might mean having to shovel out quite a bit, where the good ole Greenback is concerned. I am not saying this is the only reason for the government’s reluctance to repeal DADT, but might it be that we just don’t want to pay for these additional people on the government payroll? The truth is, if you allow gay service members to serve then you get into the murky business of whether or not to allow their spouses or significant others to be recognized, monetarily.

Now, everyone knows, from having read my earlier post this week, that I am not a big advocate of gay marriage (as based upon the current heterosexual model), but I do support the rule of law. I do think that, given all of the domestic partner laws around the country, the US Military may very well have to consider allowing the spouses of gay service members their due, just like their heterosexual counterparts. It would look pretty bad, if gay people may serve their country, but their spouses were unrecognized, financially. How would that work, legally? We can all see how difficult an issue this is, when we consider the very real possibility that the US Government would have to allow for financial supports of gay service members’ spouses/significant others. This could cost the US taxpayer plenty of money (which I, for one, am willing to spend).

As anyone knows, who has had service members in their families, the benefits of being in the service can be myriad. One has to consider the insurance for service members for their spouses should they be killed in, say, Iraq. My family has served in every conflict that the US ever had. I follow the Army Times and other publications and I know that some service members’ families, in fact, probably just about all, receive as much $400,000 should their loved ones be killed while on active duty. If gay service members are killed, their spouses/significant others could potentially receive such monies and, boy, would that cost a bundle! Because, I’ll tell you right now, there are more gay people serving in the US Military than anyone can imagine.

Consider for the moment the cost of paying for gay spouses in the military—it staggers the mind. I can see the hesitancy on the parts of so many members of the Senate. Good Lord, do we really want to tax people more to pay for these homosexuals? I can understand that view as greedy and short-sighted as it is. I can also understand the view of a gay person serving who deserves as much as any straight soldier to be recognized for his or her efforts in the defense of his or her country. These are our defenders. When we deny them basic human rights, we do our nation a disservice.

It is rumored that General von Steuben from Germany, right hand man to George Washington during the Revolution and the author of the first US Army book of rules and regulations, was gay. What if he was? I could care less. If had not been for him, we might not be free today to express ourselves in this beautiful country. I would hope that all Americans would value their soldiers, sailors, marines and coast guarders and give them all the same fair treatment. It’s the least we can do for people who serve our country. And remember, the next time you see some dashing lad in uniform that a lot of gay people tend to gravitate towards careers with the most fabulous costumes and uniforms: the clergy, Hollywood, and the military.

“This land is your land, this land is my land…,
this land was made for you and me…”

Yours,

Tiffany

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Reframing the gay marriage debate

Dear Tad,

Forgive me for my brief hiatus. It actually seems like an eternity. I did not have much of a possibility for holiday this summer what with getting my five-year old son off to his first year of school (kindergarten), so this was my time to take a few days off. Tad, I want to applaud you for your recent work on the blog (I noticed your Aussie boys are getting a lot of attention!) and I want to take this moment and thank our readers for continually tuning in. Just fabulous, Darlings!! We’re blowing up!! I want to, on a more subdued note, give you my condolences and the rest of our community as well for the recent mishap in the Senate. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was not repealed and this is a sad note for us all, as a nation. And it brings me to another battle we face I want to talk about: so-called gay marriage.

I want to speak about marriage and gay marriage in particular because I think my views on this issue are not part of our current dialogue on the issue and I think they should be. Gay people want the right to marry, but I am beginning to question some of the reasoning and assumptions behind marriage. I am wondering if we wish to emulate what marriage currently is, or rather, move into a new paradigm of what marriage should look or be like. If giving homosexuals the right to marry strengthened the institution of marriage then it would be easy to support the idea of “gay” marriage. But in my opinion, gay marriage only perpetuates a flawed institution.

A civil union is a legally recognized union similar to marriage. Beginning with Denmark in 1989, civil unions under one name or another have been established by law in many developed countries in order to provide same-sex couples with rights, benefits, and responsibilities similar to opposite-sex civil marriage.

Gays should encourage civil union legislation. Why? It could be argued that marriage is an elitist institution. It is an institution that survives (to) the exclusion of certain people. In American society today, marriage rights are granted to certain individuals and not to others. This in itself creates conflict. Heterosexual marriage is posited as the good or moral alternative to anything else and gay marriage is seen as an abomination on several levels by more than 50% of Americans.

Coupling is the norm for most people. If a person is not coupling, he or she is seen as a dissident or a non-conformer. Just as heterosexuality is the norm and is in no need of explanation, people are expected to couple up and marry, because this is one of the oldest and most socially accepted practices in our Western industrialized civilization.

One is either for marriage or against it; either capable of ‘participating’ in marriage like normal citizens, or not capable (in which case there must be something psychologically or emotionally flawed about such a person). Married people never have to explain why they are married, but single people seem to be pressured by those around them about why they are not “coupled.” Indeed this must cause many single people who desperately want to be married a great deal of embarrassment and consternation. What these attitudes do to single gay people is another matter, but we can safely assume that the psychological damage is worse as these people already feel inferior and marginalized. Marriage perpetuates the idea that there is a “soul mate” and that there must be something wrong with a person if he or she does not have this set-up or even want it.

The idea of romantic marriage is a very 20th century one. In previous centuries, men and women got married for financial or political reasons, not for romantic love. Romantic love was a side-note, a distraction to the reality of property rights, social ambition, and security. More than likely in the 16th century people married for financial or political security, whether this be the king or the vassal in the field. Most people entered into some kind of arranged scenario for expediency, not because they were in love. Today, if a person were to marry for money, this would be seen as scandalous. Marriage today is romantic. People who don’t marry for love are seen as problematic. If a person married for reasons other than romantic love, the marriage contract would become invalidated and the institution marginalized.

Heterosexual marriage discriminates against straight people as well. Straight, unmarried couples are also not entitled to the benefits of marriage, according to our very puritan society; only persons who are “fortunate” enough to enter into this contract are allowed these special rights. The institution grants rights to heterosexual couples such as tax cuts, hospital visits, inheritance rights, but only if two people are legally bonded in hopefully “holy” matrimony. Whether it be straight, single people (unworthy because they refuse or haven’t been capable enough of finding themselves true love) or gay people who are seen as simply immoral, the marriage institution succeeds in rendering these two groups as abnormal and unworthy. Heterosexual marriage is not to be questioned. It is the foundation of most societies. Further, people who don’t subscribe to marriage values are considered the “other” and eccentric.

Why after all of the discussion here would gay people want to partake in an institution that is unfair, elitist, and emotionally damaging, because of its lofty ideals and exclusiveness? Gay marriage should not exist based on a heterosexual model. By getting rid of the “marriage system”, the playing field is evened out. How one should exist as a couple or a single person would no longer need to be defined or measured by “marriage.” No sexual identity should be normative and therefore no group of people should be seen as normative and have any more special rights than any other group. Marriage rights are denied to all people who cannot or wish to not engage in the institution of marriage. Moreover, single people of any sexual stripe should not be seen as damaged or lacking somehow if they are not married. Gay people should not be encouraged to participate in an unfair system. If gays and lesbians want true equality, they should work to dismantle the institution of marriage and never should they encourage gay marriage. They should encourage other ideas such as civil unions and move away from wanting to reproduce traditional heterosexual marriage.

Yours,

Tiffany

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Another great reason to love those Aussie (military) Bums!

Dear Tiffany,

I hope you are enjoying your break from blogging while your sister is in town. I am still recovering from my cold and a bit upset that I was unable to do the Witt case proper justice in my NyQuil-induced state. I’m drowning in a sea of tissue over here!

But, speaking of the Witt case, I came across a another military news story originating from the land of rippling pecks and thighs that we must discuss. That’s right, more news on Australia! Tiffany, if these two Aussie bums

were not reason enough to make you love Australia (and yes, oh yes they are!), I can now offer you one more delicious reason to love all things Aussie!

If you’re looking for something a bit more meaningful than firm thighs and pecks to make your Aussie romance complete, here is a story (receiving very little press I might add) that will make you take notice. As of yesterday, Australia offers equal rights to all sexual minorities wishing to serve in their military. While we in America grapple with the ‘Tacoma lesbian’s’ right to serve her country in the military, Australia has officially lifted its ban on Transgendered troops. This is the final barrier to admitting all sexual minorities into the Australian military, according to this Edge story. Other countries with Transgendered troops are: Canada, Israel, Czech Republic, Spain and Thailand.

Although I would love to toast a pint of Foster’s to the Aussie’s for this amazing step forward in human rights, it’s only 10:45 in the morning where I am. So, I guess my next round of NyQuil taken with an Australian toaster biscuit (they’re much softer than those haaaaard English things, you know) will have to suffice.

Cheers!

ps – I just realized this Tiffany, but with a name like ‘Tad’, imagine how delicious that would sound coming out of the mouth of an Aussie?

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A quick update on the Witt case

Both Tiffany and I would like to thank our readers for sending us some fabulous links and information regarding Maj. Witt’s case. And, it’s nice to know that we’re not the only people outraged that most news headlines refer to Maj. Witt as nothing more than a ‘lesbian’, ‘Tacoma lesbian’, or ‘gay nurse’. One reader suggested we look at the blog that The ACLU of Washington State has been filing from the courtroom. A link to ACLU’s trial brief (if you’re into those kinds of things) can be found here. The ACLU also has a link to The Daily Kos and their coverage of the story.

And, once again, our local news disappoints with the following headline ‘Trial opens for Tacoma lesbian seeking return to military‘ and equally disappointing non-informative story.

Thanks again, everyone!

Tad and Tiffany

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