Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-08-31
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

VIEWS: There can be no second-class service members
by Aubrey Sarvis, SLDN Executive Director, Washington, D.C.
2012-03-26

This article shared 2301 times since Mon Mar 26, 2012
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


We have just passed six months since "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ( DADT ) was repealed, and the news is good. Service members of every branch and every rank - along with the nation's military leaders - are to be congratulated for the professionalism with which implementation is taking place. Indeed, the dire warnings of opponents have not come to pass - just as we knew they wouldn't. Repeal has not resulted in any comprising of unit cohesion, mass exodus from the services, or damage to the morale of the nation's fighting men and women.

So what has brought about this success?

Let's first remember that Congress passed a law establishing a process whereby DADT would go away if - that is, if - the Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the President all certified to Congress that the services were ready to make this change. There was nothing in the law that required certification to ever occur, and before certifying, our nation's leaders took all necessary steps to ensure that our military would be ready.

Even before repeal enabling legislation was signed by President Obama in December 2011, these preparations and contingent plans were underway. From the unprecedented engagement of the force in the form of the meetings conducted in the field to discuss the proposed changes with service members to the largest non-census survey of the nation's military in our history, planning was in place to ensure that repeal - if it happened - would occur in an environment that would foster its success. Extensive education and engagement of the forces occurred before certification, and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen and then Secretary of Defense Robert Gates - even though they were not required to do so by law - consulted with all the service chiefs before recommending that repeal proceed.

That time in the field face to face with service members - coupled with the survey, education, and training - all came together to solidify the view of the military leadership, as well as the rank and file, that repeal could occur without disruption to the mission of the armed forces. Ultimately, it was the decision of the services to move away from DADT and write, issue, and implement a new set of regulations that now permit gays and lesbians to serve openly if they choose to do so.

But even as we herald the success we see, we know that implementation cannot be entirely successful as long as we have two classes of service members. Perhaps President Obama himself said it best when speaking to supporters recently about the repeal of DADT. He stated:

"We're going to have more work to do on this issue, as is true on a lot of other issues. There's still areas where fairness is not the rule."

That's why in October 2011 - just a month after repeal - SLDN filed landmark litigation to address these remaining issues. McLaughlin v. U.S. was brought by eight married gay and lesbian service members and veterans challenging the so-called Defense of Marriage Act ( DOMA ) and other federal statutes that preclude the military from providing equal recognition, support, and benefits to all families. These plaintiffs take the same risks, make the same sacrifices, and provide the same service, yet when it comes to benefits like housing, health care, survivor benefits, and family support, they are not treated the same as their straight, married peers.

However, there are a number of benefits that the Secretary of Defense has the authority to confer right now, even as DOMA and these other laws remain on the books. SLDN has been working for a number of months with the Pentagon to address these, and we should see something positive on this front before the end of March. The reality is DoD started looking at benefits long before repeal took place, including in the findings made by the Comprehensive Review Working Group. It's past time that the Secretary act on this front.

So where does this leave us?

We can say with certainty that repeal is going well. We also can say with equal certainty that the issue of benefit parity is gaining steam. Commanders in the field are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with a two-tiered system of benefits and support for service members and their families. The colleagues of gay and lesbian military families are recognizing the inequalities and inherent unfairness of the status quo. Members of Congress are hearing from their constituents that it's time to address this next battle in the fight for full equality.

It's time to repeal DOMA and change these discriminatory laws. We cannot be a nation with two classes of service members.


This article shared 2301 times since Mon Mar 26, 2012
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

VIEWPOINT What are the most banned books: take a guess 2022-11-18
- The Latin word for book is liber. It is also the Latin word for "free," as in not a slave but a person who enjoys freedom (liberty). The word library means a home for books, a place of liberation, a sacred ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT The geopolitics of being Brittney Griner 2022-11-18
- WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner was arrested a week before Russia invaded Ukraine. On Feb. 17, the Russian Federal Customs Service detained Griner at Sheremetyevo International Airport for allegedly transporting cannabis-derived ...


Gay News

GUEST EDITORIAL The Workers' Rights Amendment is a vote for equality 2022-11-01
- It is the American Dream: Work hard and you can achieve a middle-class life. This narrative is a broken bargain for too many in today's workforce. A far worse bargain exists for the LGBTQ+ community, especially ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT The cults of Jesus, Putin and Trump 2022-10-21
- Originalist Christian nationalism. They say politics makes strange bedfellows. There is none stranger than the curious linking of Jesus to the cults of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in the faith and politics of an alarming ...


Gay News

LETTER A concerning change at the Art Institute 2022-09-28
- I have a fond, reverent remembrance of the first time I encountered Felix Gonzalez-Torres' "Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) at the Art Institute nearly a decade ago. I was encouraged by a nearby guide to ...


Gay News

LETTER Vote 'yes' for the environment 2022-09-21
- Concerned about climate change? Interested in protecting our precious resources of breathable air, drinkable water, and native habitat? Want to create jobs while mitigating local flooding? Here's a way: in the upcoming midterm election, vote YES ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT The art of citizenship 2022, or night sweats of a classical humanist get worse … 2022-09-08
- Ten years ago this September, I published my first op-ed for Windy City Times: The art of citizenship 2012, or night sweats of a classical humanist. I wrote this op-ed because of the serious damage being ...


Gay News

Vallas speaks at event of group known for anti-LGBTQ+ views [UPDATE] 2022-08-01
- Former Chicago Public Schools CEO and current mayoral candidate Paul Vallas spoke at a fundraiser for Awake Illinois—a group that has been criticized for its transphobic and homophobic rhetoric, The Chicago Reader reported. The group hosted ...


Gay News

VIEWS Can gay men dial back sex until our monkeypox vaccinations? 2022-07-28
- Years from now, there will be gay men who made it through a case of monkeypox who will have the scars up and down the shaft of their penis to prove it. Let me repeat that. Scars. On their cock. For ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT Now, they're gunning to take away our vote 2022-07-20
- It took them 50 years to get the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe. It might take them only two years to get the court to take your vote from you. In addition to all the efforts to make voting difficult ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT Nothing is more American than a 4th of July parade 2022-07-07
- Nothing is more American than a 4th of July parade. And tragically, nothing is more American than a mass shooting with a high-powered rifle. Our hearts go out to the families of the seven victims of ...


Gay News

VIEWS How same-sex couples can ensure parenting rights if Supreme Court reverses Obergefell 2022-06-30
By Jeffery M. Leving - After the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade last week, many are now wondering if the court would go after same-sex marriage next. Justice Samuel Alito, in his majority decision, wrote that nothing in its ...


Gay News

Survey: Americans hold complex views on gender identity and trans+ Issues 2022-06-29
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 28, 2022) — As the United States addresses issues of transgender rights and the broader landscape around gender identity continues to shift, the American public holds a complex set of views around these ...


Gay News

VIEWS Workers' rights are LGBTQ+ rights 2022-06-27
- June usually marks a joyous month for the LGBTQ+ community and our allies as we reflect on the decades of hard work that our community and movement have put into securing and promoting our civil rights. ...


Gay News

WORLD Japanese ruling, Pride events, Colombia election, Boris Johnson 2022-06-26
- A Japanese court ruled that the country's ban on same-sex marriage does not violate the constitution, and rejected demands for compensation by three couples who said their right to free union and equality has been violated, ...


 




Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS





Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.