By Bryan Fischer
Follow me on Twitter: @BryanJFischer, on Facebook at “Focal Point”
As hearings before Congress have already indicated, implementing the LGBT law in the United States military will prove to be a confused snarl.
The House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow (Thursday) on the subject of implementing the repeal of the longstanding ban on homosexual service in the armed forces.
As Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness points out, there are a raft of unanswered questions regarding implementation, questions for which military brass seem to have no answers.
To this point, no one has argued in any persuasive fashion that repeal will actually strengthen the military and improve its readiness, recruitment and retention capabilities. The best they’ve been able to do is argue that it is doable, with (an imaginary) minimally disruptive effect. Even Pentagon officials have acknowledged that unless the transition is handled well, this thing could blow up like a grenade in the hand.
During last Friday’s hearing before the HSAC Personnel Committee, neither Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel & Readiness Clifford L. Stanley nor Vice Adm. William Gortney could make the case that implementation would improve the military. In fact, when Sec. Stanley was asked how the change will improve the military mission, he said, “We don’t know.” The best they could do was Adm. Gortney’s prediction that “this change will not impact our ability to win,” hardly a ringing endorsement.
Many questions remain, and here are just a few, many of them raised in a briefing prepared by Ms. Donnelly for the HSAC.
There are potential huge problems dealing with personal privacy issues. Local commanders are to be told to handle accommodation issues on a “case-by-case basis,” which leaves them at the mercy of superiors who may accept complaints that any adjustments they make create “hostile work environments” for LGBT personnel.
Berthing and billeting issues, especially on submarines and with deployed battalions, will have to be faced because of the sexual tension that will be created by the presence of same-sex-attracted service-members. What alterations can commanders make to “mitigate” privacy concerns without facing career-ending accusations? No answer. If four-star officers cannot answer these questions, why should subordinate field commanders be expected to?
In fact, Adm. Gortney admitted that men are separated from women to protect “good order and discipline,” and that without that kind of separation, sexual attraction would inevitably harm the military interest. But he gave a muddled and entirely unsatisfactory answer to the obvious question about sexual tension created by same-sex attraction in the same settings.
And what if a commander makes a good faith effort to accommodate privacy concerns, and is accused by an LGBT individual of “disrespect?” Will that officer be supported by his superiors or thrown to the wolves? Will such an officer get legal representation if dragged into court, or will he be on his own?
The Pentagon doesn’t even have mechanisms in place to assess the impact of repeal and the impact of the training that’s being done in preparation for implementation. How in the world, then, can the Secretary of Defense or the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs certify that repeal won’t have a negative impact?
Further, there is no indication that exit interviews of departing service-members will include questions regarding the impact of the LGBT law on their decision to leave the military. So how is the military going to get any kind of meaningful data on the impact of the LGBT law on retention, which is a major concern of opponents of repeal?
With regard to religious liberty for both chaplains and people of faith, serious questions remain. Will chaplains be allowed to express their sincerely held religious convictions about the nature of homosexual conduct outside worship services, say while they are off-duty but on base? If questions come up while they’re in the PX snack bar or at a sports activity, will they be hammered if they represent their faith tradition accurately in such conversations?
What procedures will be in place to protect chaplains from prejudicial fitness reports from pro-gay superiors? If a chaplain loses his endorsement, the military has indicated that he may still be required to finish out his term of military service even though he’s been defrocked. Doing what exactly?
And what about families who rely on on DoD schools for their children’s education? If LGBT personnel teach and pro-gay indoctrination is allowed in military-run classrooms, does the DoD have any way of determining how many families will choose not to re-enlist because of this? If pro-marriage service-members want educational alternatives because of LGBT curricula in DoD classrooms, will alternatives be provided, or will they be forced to suffer the brainwashing of their children as long as they serve?
And what about benefits for homosexual partners? President Obama has already directed his attorney general, Eric Holder, not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act. Will gay couples married in Massachusetts now get family housing and other spousal benefits, in direct violation of the law, since the Commander in Chief believes that denying them such benefits is homophobic bigotry?
There are enormous health risks involved in homosexual conduct. Does the military have any estimate of the increased medical costs the military will incur treating the raft of diseases homosexuals routinely contract?
If homosexuals are denied housing and benefits and sue, who is going to defend military policy in court? The DOJ is already fatally compromised. Will the DOJ allow DoD to defend DOMA and military policy that denies benefits to homosexual couples? And how, exactly, does a military lawyer argue vigorously against a policy advocated by his Commander in Chief without kissing off the rest of his career?
Further, the prospect of a federal judge deciding a dispute between the Commander in Chief and the military on such matters is an unseemly prospect, and certainly can’t be good for military morale and cohesion.
Will pro-marriage families be allowed to move off base if the housing environment becomes detrimental to their own children’s welfare, and still keep their housing allowance?
Serious questions, no answers. If repeal progresses as planned, be prepared for a slow-motion train wreck that will derail the most powerful military in the world and leave our families and nation less safe by the day.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)