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Gays in the Military: Logistics

Yesterday’s “This Week” roundtable had a remarkably civil discussion of gays in the military featuring George Will, Matthew Dowd, Clarence Page, and Joan Walsh.  They were all in agreement that this was a done deal, that the national culture had changed remarkably in recent years, and that the military’s own culture needed to be respectfully handled.

Particularly interesting is the point raised by Page (starting at 11:39 in the video) about the logistics of the transition.  No, not nonsense about showers and such but how to handle marriage, dependency, and related issues.

Pat Lang made a similar argument at length the other day:

Gay soldiers will have to be given the opportunity to live in married family quarters with their partners. Fair is fair. Nevertheless DOMA establishes the federal government’s policy that gay marriage is not marriage. For gay partners to be given married family housing, DOMA must be repealed. If the US Government’s future policy is that cohabitation of gay partners married or unmarried is allowed then they, logically, will be entitled to family housing. Most states, and especially the ones with the biggest Army posts do not recognize gay marriage and are unlikely to do so any time soon. Does that mean that gay soldiers will have to be given priority in assignment of family quarters? There are only so many units. Will the House of Representatives who voted yesterday to repeal the DADT law also vote construction money for more housing? Will those denied housing because of a shortage simply be expected to find a place to live in towns “outside the gate?” The realtors out there will be pleased.

Then there is the question of the “dependent” status of gay partners who are not also service members. The service family members who Michelle Obama talks about are issued military ID cards designed specifically for them. These cards make them part of the military community. They allow access to military facilities, commissary sales stores (grocery stores), post exchanges (something like a department store) gas stations on post, movie theaters, transportation and most importantly military medical care or its equivalent under the Defense Department TRICARE insurance program. The medical benefit is essentially unlimited and includes pharmacy.

Children essentially have these benefits until they leave school. Spouses have them for life if they do not lose them through re-marriage to a non-service member.

All this is expensive. Soldiers receive such benefits because they are not really employees of the armed forces. They are MEMBERS. Their obligations are unlimited. Unlimited. It is not really possible to hire men to die for you. If you think that is why soldiers serve, you just don’t get it. You probably don’t get it anyway. Openly gay soldiers will have the same obligations and must be given the same benefits. Fair is fair.

Who are the armed forces going to give dependent ID cards to? Since marriage will not be a possibility in a lot of places, ID cards will have to be given to unmarried partners. How will the military determine that a partner is no longer eligible for dependent benefits?

And then, there is the other side of the coin. Whatever is done for gays will have to be done for straights. The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) has law within it that limits sexual activity to married people. That law is there largely to discourage activity that would be disruptive to unit cohesion. That body of law is used ruthlessly as backing for administrative action that damages careers when what is thought to be misbehavior occurs. In a situation in which gay soldiers will not be able to marry even if they want to, it will be necessary to change that law as well. That change will apply to straight soldiers.

There are no easy answers to these questions.  My guess is that, while the military has lagged civilian society in normalizing homosexuality, it will almost immediately step to the forefront.  That is, once open gays become a fact of life, military culture will simply demand taking care of the loved ones of gay soldiers in the way it long has those of other soldiers.   So, yes, I think we’ll see, in relatively short order, military recognition of same-sex marriage and of domestic partnership of the same-sex and opposite-sex varieties.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Eric Florack says:

    I’m far from convinced that the military has lagged on this issue. Indeed, every time the subject of homosexual “marriage” comes to a vote, it’s defeated, even in far liberal places like California. The issue is coming to a head, just now, because the liberals are in charge in Washington, and are busy cramming social and financial edu/and down our throats that have absolutely no support whatsoever statistically among the electorate. These are people who have traditionally for the last 40 to 60 years have viewed the military as a place to enforce their views of what society should be as opposed to the military are reflecting what the American people are and desire. I suppose that’s what happens when we have the CAC whose social views reflect absolutely none of that of the electorate.

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  2. superdestroyer says:

    The militant homosexual;s are not wasting any getting to their real agenda. Homosexual rights have little to do with civil rights and a lot to do with entitlements.

    Since the military does not recognize male-female domestic partnerships, then why should the military honor homosexual domestic partnerships.

    The next push will be for promotion and assignment quotas along with the requirement to list sexual preference on the official military records. Then the militant homosexuals will start on the same quotas, entitlements, and demand in education, government hiring, contracting, etc.

    Wait until your employer is asking your sexual preference so that they can demonstrate compliance with civil rights laws. Maybe libertarians will either refuse to say or cliam they are homosexual so that the government will give them special privileges.

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  3. Dave says:

    I really hope the “militant homosexuals” are soon able to join the armed services. They sound fierce!

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  4. superdestroyer says:

    Dave,

    They are only militant when looking out for themselves and for others. As for everyone else, homosexuals see them as marks to be taken advantage of and used.

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  5. James Joyner says:

    Since the military does not recognize male-female domestic partnerships, then why should the military honor homosexual domestic partnerships.

    Because gays can’t marry in most states. That means gays wanting long-term relationships simply move in together without the benefit of formal recognition.

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  6. Dave says:

    Because gays can’t marry in most states. That means gays wanting long-term relationships simply move in together without the benefit of formal recognition.

    This is a problem without an easy solution until same sex marriage is widely legalized (a certainty at this point, but still a ways off.) My partner and I were denied benefits by her employer even though we meet all the criteria for domestic partnership save one: we’re not the same sex. Basically, we got hosed for being straight. (Ironic since we’ve been together and financially interdependent for 8 years though have avoided getting married until our gay friends and relatives can do the same.)

    I understand where my partner’s employer is coming from: they don’t want any newly minted couple or even non-dating set of roommates to pay the $20 for a municipal partnership and then use up a whole lot of subsidized health insurance etc. At the same time, they don’t want to turn away qualified gay employees with partners whom they can’t legally marry. The result is a (reverse) discriminatory practice. (One that only exists because of the discrimination currently written into marriage law.) I imagine the military will soon face a similar problem.

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  7. just me says:

    Personally I think this is going to be a problem that won’t be easily solved and not to some people’s satisfaction.

    My personal opinion is that marriage, or at least a civil recognition of gay relationships is the easiest way to work this issue out.

    But in the mean time it is going to cost a ton of money, because I don’t see how the military gets around providing dependent benefits to gay couples, but not to cohabitating straights. I suspect for now the military is going to just treat gay relationships like they do straight but not married ones, which will work at least until the first lawsuit is filed, and i would be at all shocked if there wasn’t already a test case in the wings ready to file the minute dependent benefits are denied to a gay partner.

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  8. TangoMan says:

    Particularly interesting is the point raised by Page (starting at 11:39 in the video) about the logistics of the transition. No, not nonsense about showers and such but how to handle marriage, dependency, and related issues.

    If it’s nonsense then you should have absolutely no trouble with the dispensing of the rebuttal to that logistical concern rather than hand waving it away.

    Fire away, I’m quite eager to read how presence, not action, of males in a female shower will be an actionable offense but presence of a homosexual showing with a heterosexual will not. As I noted in an earlier comment I’m not intimately familiar with the UCMJ so if they have no provisions for equal treatment then just say so, but if they do, they please square the circle for me rather than hand-waving it away.

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  9. Michael Reynolds says:

    Very similar to the problem of integrating the armed forces back in the day. Black soldiers had rights denied to them in the surrounding area. It is genuinely complicated.

    But I imagine the military will handle it, take a moderate lead, and eventually the civilians will catch up.

    And then? Why, then the gays force Eric and SuperDestroyer into the “homosexual lifestyle.” That’s been the secret gay plan all along.

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  10. James Joyner says:

    I’m quite eager to read how presence, not action, of males in a female shower will be an actionable offense but presence of a homosexual showing with a heterosexual will not.

    In one case, all the people in the shower have roughly the same body parts. In the other case, not.

    Males shower together in locker rooms all the time. Ditto, females. Given that there are some number of gays in most populations, that means gays are showering with heteros all the time now.

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  11. Mithras says:

    This is a really interesting set of issues that had never occurred to me before now. James, if you’re right about the military stepping “to the forefront” on these issues, I think it will have a catalytic effect on gay rights in civilian society.

    There are parallels to the history of blacks in the military but, I think, the differences make ending Jim Crow in the Army ultimately not a great guide to today. But in both the case of Jim Crow and anti-gay beliefs, the commanders’ main concern is getting the job done. That entails making the troops work together, whether they like it or not, while keeping one eye on public opinion on both sides of the issue.

    I wonder about Mr. Lang’s argument regarding married housing and dependent benefits. If the President can order health benefits to be extended to the families of gay civilian federal workers, then surely he can do so with regard to gay military personnel. Civilian courts give military administrative matters great deference, so I don’t see DOMA being used successfully by some conservative legal outfit to challenge how the military implements this policy change. As one of Lang’s commenters pointed out, it is certainly possible for gays to get married in some states, so the military can just apply the same procedures to married gay couples that they apply to married straight ones. (The fact that some states don’t recognize gay marriage isn’t relevant, just as the fact that some states didn’t recognize interracial marriage well into the 60s wasn’t relevant.)

    I find Lang’s bitter use of the phrase “fair is fair” to be kind of funny, in a sad way.

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  12. just me says:

    I really don’t see any problems with gays showering in the same facilities as straights of the same gender-they are doing it right now.

    I think the UCMJ can certainly cover any issues of inappropriate actions while showering or sharing quarters.

    I do think there are logistics for opening the military up to gays serving openly are more difficult than when African Americans or Women were allowed to serve in other than support roles.

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  13. superdestroyer says:

    Mithras,.

    The military has always demanded a marriage certificate to give someone spousal benefits. If the military changes to having domestic partnership benefits for homosexuals but not for heterosexuals, they will also be sued.

    If the military takes the lead in giving homosexuals a wide array of benefits, then it is based upon the assumption that the Democrats will always be in control and that Republicans will never be in the majority of Congress again.

    There is also the issue of how many people will start looking to leave the military rather than serve with militant homosexuals who have a standing grieve industry who will make it hard on any heterosexual supervisor? If you look at career fields with lots of homosexuals, they usually do not tolerate heterosexuals very well.

    A better question will be how entitlements are given to promiscious homosexual males who could end up with several marriages?

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  14. just me says:

    There is also the issue of how many people will start looking to leave the military rather than serve with militant homosexuals who have a standing grieve industry who will make it hard on any heterosexual supervisor?

    I am not so sure “militant” homosexuals are going to start signing up to serve in the military any more than they are signing up now.

    I am also not really convinced there is going to be a mass exodus, because soldiers don’t want to serve with gay people. When my husband was in the Navy, he and his various shipmates knew some of the other sailors were gay and often knew who they were. As long as that person did their job well, they pretty much didn’t care.

    Will there be some people who don’t re-up or sign up because they don’t want to serve with gays? Maybe, but I don’t see this number being droves. And for the most part the militant homosexual is entirely too self centered to actually sign up for the military.

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  15. Mithras says:

    The military has always demanded a marriage certificate to give someone spousal benefits.

    No problem. Several U.S. states issue marriage licenses to out-of-state gay couples.

    There is one strong parallel between this situation and the end of Jim Crow in the military – the inanity of the opposition’s fears.

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  16. Dave says:

    If you look at career fields with lots of homosexuals, they usually do not tolerate heterosexuals very well.

    Seriously?

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  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    Yes, Dave, jeez. Haven’t you heard about the many straight-bashing assaults by gay hairdressers upon straight hairdressers? God help you if you like girls and try to cut hair!

    It must be fascinating to live in SuperDestroyer’s alternate universe, don’t you think? In SD’s world whites are hunkered down in fear of blacks, gays are attacking straights, liberals are forever trying to force conservatives to worship satan, Mexicans are rushing across the border to deliver their babies and take over Arizona, we’re all divided into paranoid, gun-toting tribes just ready to unleash the dogs of war.

    I suspect medication would be of some help, but then we’d lose the entertainment value he provides.

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  18. TangoMan says:

    In one case, all the people in the shower have roughly the same body parts. In the other case, not.

    Different body parts in themselves don’t make for feelings of sexual discomfort. Female nurses regularly give baths to male patients. There is no sexual undertone to that interaction. The reason that males showering, or living in the same barracks, with females is an issue is the feeling of discomfort that might arise in some people from this close interaction. Many women would feel that there is a sexual undertone to forced showering or bunking even if there are no actions undertaken which support that contention.

    Males shower together in locker rooms all the time. Ditto, females. Given that there are some number of gays in most populations, that means gays are showering with heteros all the time now.

    You make no distinction between environments characterized by certainty and uncertainty of knowledge. A man may find a particular woman appealing but he says nothing to her about his attraction. She remains unaware of his feelings. Their interactions are normal, friendly and not anxiety inducing. Then he declares his feelings. She is unsettled by how he views her. Now his same actions are judged through a different lens. His actions remain unchanged but now they induce anxiety in the woman who doesn’t welcome this man’s romantic interactions.

    I can walk into a public shower and shower with strangers. No problem. What I would object to is being forced to shower with a man who finds men sexually attractive. The environment changes from presumed uncertainty to known certainty. I don’t care that he and I have both seen the male anatomy nude many times. I’ve seen plenty of nude females. Should that permit me to saunter over to the female showers and soap up? This argument doesn’t wash.

    If the military doesn’t permit males and females to share close quarters even while they are on tour and performing their duties adequately, then they’re going to, I believe, have to address this issue when one service member wants to be treated equally with the same considerations extended to women, considerations which will reduce his anxiety. Separate but equal is going to be a tough sell these days.

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  19. TangoMan says:

    If you look at career fields with lots of homosexuals, they usually do not tolerate heterosexuals very well.

    Seriously?

    Maybe he’s thinking of this:

    The artistic director at California’s largest nonprofit musical theater company resigned Wednesday amid protests over his donation to a campaign to ban gay marriage in the state.

    Scott Eckern stepped down from his job at the California Musical Theater in Sacramento after some gay and lesbian activists called for a theater boycott.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  20. Dave says:

    Maybe he’s thinking of this:

    That’s a guy quitting because his coworkers didn’t like his politics, not his sexual orientation. You think he’s the only straight dude who works there? You even know if he’s straight?

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  21. Mithras says:

    I can walk into a public shower and shower with strangers. No problem. What I would object to is being forced to shower with a man who finds men sexually attractive. The environment changes from presumed uncertainty to known certainty.

    No, it’s still uncertain, because you don’t know that that gay soldier finds you sexually attractive. I don’t know how to quantify that risk; consult your mirror.

    they’re going to, I believe, have to address this issue when one service member wants to be treated equally with the same considerations extended to women, considerations which will reduce his anxiety.

    Not sure, but I think you’re positing the idea of a straight soldier asking to be separated from a gay soldiers for his protection. That would be novel.

    Gay male servicemembers aren’t going to start raping straight male servicemembers just because DADT is repealed. Just saying it out loud shows what a ludicrous fear it is.

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  22. JKB says:

    The “showering” type of issues will be coming since after high school we separate the sexes due to sexual attraction not “potential seeing body parts.” The fact that we keep the polite lie alive doesn’t mean it won’t become an issue when it is forced into the open. Or is there a belief that sexual harassment won’t be an issue once it can be reported without the whole DADT baggage.

    However, the path James takes (dependents, marriage, etc.) will be the path that may backfire on gay activists. Once it is forced to the forefront, and most of the issues he raises require Congressional action to solve, the polite lie will no longer be avoidable, especially as it forces benefits currently not provided such as to cohabiting partner benefits. Like the illegal alien issue, the “ruling” class will discover they are no longer aligned with the majority. That will show up at the ballot box.

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  23. superdestroyer says:

    Mithras,

    The government currently does give social security benefits to homosexual partners with or without a marriage certificate. The push for the military entitlement is to get to the Holy Grail of Social Security. The militant homosexuals will love to develop the ability to get Social Security, Medicaid, etc while working in the creative arts with the massive tax cheating and the non-payment of social security taxes.

    When looking at the public statement of any militants, always look for the hidden agenda. The organized homosexual community does not really care about the military. What they care about is having political power, government entitlements, and eventually using the Civil Rights laws to get quotas and special set asides.

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  24. TangoMan says:

    No, it’s still uncertain, because you don’t know that that gay soldier finds you sexually attractive.

    You see, the thing about equal protection legislation is that people should be treated equally under the law. So, ad arguendum let’s take your point and apply it equally. When a man enters a shower stall with women and proceeds to shower with them, they have no grounds for complaint until they prove that the man found each of them sexually attractive. So long as he denies their accusation and so long as he took no action, he should be fine, right?

    Gay male servicemembers aren’t going to start raping straight male servicemembers just because DADT is repealed.

    Please argue the point rather than the straw man. Actions are prosecutable. Presence is prosecutable for a male who enters a female shower but presence is not prosecutable for a homosexual who showers with a heterosexual.

    It’s the presence, not the action, that is the key to this concern. There is a double standard that looks to be invoked and this double standard doesn’t adhere to equal protection principles.

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  25. Michael Reynolds says:

    TangoBrimelow:

    What are you, 12?

    Some guy’s going to look at my weewee!

    It’s nice I suppose that you’ve achieved unity of idiocy. You’re not just an idiot on race but an idiot on gender, too.

    Tango’s worst nightmare: a black gay looking at his weewee.

    We must shape all national policy with an eye toward reducing the insecurity Tango feels as a result of his shortcomings.

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  26. Michael Reynolds says:

    Although, wait a minute, I want to retract that fling about 12 year-olds. That was unfair.

    My readers — generally teens — have reacted to issues of race and homosexuality with a maturity and sense of authenticity and security that race-baiting, gay-baiting hate-mongering throw-backs like Tango will never achieve.

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  27. TangoMan says:

    What are you, 12?

    Come on liberal, use your vast intellect to engage the substance of the argument rather than constantly relying on ad hominem attacks. What does my being 12 have to do with the point I’ve made?

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  28. Dave says:

    It’s amazing to me the debate over whether or not to let gay people fight in wars has come down to how the military conducts its showers.

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  29. Mithras says:

    Usually, it seems, the other members of the unit already know who is gay and who isn’t. And they’re already showering with them. So the objection that some straight servicemember is going to be suddenly afraid after DADT is repealed is the real straw man here.

    Also, the parallel to sex-segregated facilities isn’t apt because men rape women all the time. Note we’re not segregating sexes to protect men from women. You already have gays and straights sharing tents and showers and things are fine. Repealing this stupid policy doesn’t change that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  30. TangoMan says:

    It’s amazing to me the debate over whether or not to let gay people fight in wars has come down to how the military conducts its showers.

    Similarly, it’s amazing to me that the debaters on one side continue to side-step the issues and are afraid or unable to address the points offered for discussion.

    Should equal protection principles be upheld in the military or not? Gay advocates are quite vocal about gays being treated by uniform standards. Ok, fine. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. A male showering with females can be prosecuted. Why? Because his presence would make the women feel uncomfortable. A homosexual service member showering with heterosexual service members might also make some heterosexuals uncomfortable but they’re told to suck it up. Why the different standards? What happened to the principle of equal protection. Women can be protected from anxiety inducing incidents in close quarters but heterosexual men will not be afforded the same consideration.

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  31. TangoMan says:

    Usually, it seems, the other members of the unit already know who is gay and who isn’t. And they’re already showering with them. So the objection that some straight servicemember is going to be suddenly afraid after DADT is repealed is the real straw man here.

    No one has put forth the argument that fright is the issue, rather it’s discomfort.

    Also, the parallel to sex-segregated facilities isn’t apt because men rape women all the time.

    Rape is an action. It’s a crime. The issue here isn’t action and crime, it;’s the discomfort to women that arises from shared quarters and full integration in the barracks.

    Note we’re not segregating sexes to protect men from women.

    Noted and irrelevant. The point is that the principle of equal protection is not being upheld. Sensitivities of women are addressed while the sensitivities of heterosexual men are dismissed. What kind of principle is that?

    You already have gays and straights sharing tents and showers and things are fine. Repealing this stupid policy doesn’t change that.

    The consequences that arises from DADT is that it creates an envelope of uncertainty, and despite your assurance that everyone already knows, that’s simply conjecture, and in any regard it bypasses the principle underlying this issue.

    If you really want to square the circle then you have to open the can of worms regarding how women are treated and why they get special carve-outs from principles of justice. Have fun with that.

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  32. Dave says:

    What if a heterosexual man feels uncomfortable showering with other heterosexual men? Are they given their own shower? No. They’re told to suck it up. So whether or not the service member is uncomfortable doesn’t matter.

    I don’t know enough about the military and/or showers to know how this debate plays out, but I know it’s a stupid debate. Plenty of other militaries in other countries have gay service members. How do they shower there?

    But don’t you see how stupid this is? We’re talking about people fighting our wars for us. And the debate’s coming down to high school gym class.

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  33. Mithras says:

    *shrug* It’s just not a real objection. Most Americans, most of the brass and the President don’t see it that way. A woman can reasonably want privacy from men because there is real, inherent danger of sexual assault. A man who wants privacy from a handful of gay soldiers is just a wuss.

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  34. Dave says:

    No one has put forth the argument that fright is the issue, rather it’s discomfort.

    I’m not a military man so correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think “discomfort” is a legitimate gripe for service members to make. If a soldier is “uncomfortable” shooting a gun, can he avoid being made to do so? What if he doesn’t like fighting in the dessert because the weather isn’t to his particular taste, can he avoid deployment?

    I imagine the answer is no. So if that same soldier doesn’t like showering with other people who may or may not be gay, he should suck it up.

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  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    TangoBrimelow:

    Come on liberal, use your vast intellect to engage the substance of the argument rather than constantly relying on ad hominem attacks. What does my being 12 have to do with the point I’ve made?

    There is no substance to engage. There never is with you.

    You’re a 63 year-old old man. A tired old fart with the ridiculous prejudices of your age and class. And you lack the capacity to adapt or to understand that life is no longer about you or your fears or your generation’s peculiar obsessions.

    The fascinating thing is that your seething hatreds have already claimed you as their first victim. You used to be somebody. Now you’re reduced to straining for the admiration of guys you’d never have had lunch with in the past. You traded a real career for a shot at profiting from the sort of tribalism and hatred that just don’t have a place in the world today. You’re a relic.

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  36. TangoMan says:

    *shrug* It’s just not a real objection. Most Americans, most of the brass and the President don’t see it that way.

    I understand that point, in that this is much the same argument as prayer in schools. Most people didn’t object until someone who did object made an issue of it and then the courts had to apply law based on principles and look at the result.

    Most Americans don’t see Gay Marriage in the way that gay activists do, and then gay activists take the issue to court and some judge applies law and principles, and presto-chango, traditions and institutions have to bend against the will of the people.

    My point is really focused on how seriously people adhere to principles.

    A woman can reasonably want privacy from men because there is real, inherent danger of sexual assault. A man who wants privacy from a handful of gay soldiers is just a wuss.

    Dude, what you wrote is self-refuting. Women, in general, need segregation from men because it is possible that one man out of many might sexually assault her because he is sexually attracted to her. Male heterosexuals don’t find other male heterosexuals to be sexually appealing so there is no risk of sexual assault. Male homosexuals though do find males to be sexually attractive, so the same risk, again not action, simply risk, is present in this situation as in the male-female situation.

    If you’re not a bigot then you should also call the women wusses or you should afford men the same accommodation you offer to women.

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  37. TangoMan says:

    I imagine the answer is no. So if that same soldier doesn’t like showering with other people who may or may not be gay, he should suck it up.

    Fine. Now tell that to women.

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  38. Mithras says:

    Maybe the gay soldiers can shower with the women. See? Problem solved.

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  39. Dave says:

    Fine. Now tell that to women.

    As I understand it, once DADT is repealed, we will. If male soldiers are uncomfortable showering with same sex homosexuals, they should suck it up. If female soldiers are uncomfortable showering with same sex homosexuals, they should suck it up. Protection = equal.

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  40. TangoMan says:

    Maybe the gay soldiers can shower with the women. See? Problem solved.

    Geez, don’t any of you guys watch military sci-fi? The trend is clear – everyone showers with everyone, therefore everyone is treated equally.

    To the issue though, all it takes is one squeaky wheel who wants to stand on principle and then the equal protection issue comes front and center in how military jurisprudence handles this issue. How often does pragmatism override principle? Should it? Should it always or only when it works to your favored side’s benefit?

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  41. Mithras says:

    There simply is no legal case to be made on behalf of the uncomfortable straight servicemember. It’s not a denial of equal protection as a court would understand it. If the argument is that the public would view it as unjust and demand elected officials create separate gay-only showers, well, the jokes write themselves.

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  42. The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) has law within it that limits sexual activity to married people. That law is there largely to discourage activity that would be disruptive to unit cohesion. That body of law is used ruthlessly as backing for administrative action that damages careers when what is thought to be misbehavior occurs

    Does Pat Lang mean to seriously suggest that unmarried people in the military do not engage in pre-marital sex and that there is a serious effort by the armed services to punish those that do?

    Is he stupid or does he just think his readers are?

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  43. TangoMan says:

    There simply is no legal case to be made on behalf of the uncomfortable straight servicemember. It’s not a denial of equal protection as a court would understand it.

    So you say. I’m making the opposite case. I see clear equal protection disparities here. I’m really interested in precedent based on UCMJ statutes in which equal protection issues have been litigated and settled. How were pragmatic issues weighed against principle? From my cursory review of the history on equal protection issues within the bounds of military policy and justice, I see a quite an emphasis on principle in many cases where pragmatism would lead to different outcomes. I hope you’ll understand that your say so, on a blog, doesn’t quite satisfy me on this issue.

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  44. sam says:

    About the UCMJ. Here’s article 125, the relevant parts:

    “(a) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense.

    (b) Any person found guilty of sodomy shall by punished as a court-martial may direct.”

    Explanation.

    It is unnatural carnal copulation for a person to take into that person’s mouth or anus the sexual organ of another person or of an animal; or to place that person’s sexual organ in the mouth or anus of another person or of an animal; or to have carnal copulation in any opening of the body, except the sexual parts, with another person; or to have carnal copulation with an animal.

    As I’ve argued before, under this article I’d guess most folks, certainly below a certain age, now serving in the armed forces are subject to court martial. If I were a defense attorney for someone brought up on an art 125 charge, I’d demand to know if any member of the court ever had or gave a blowjob. Equal protection and all that.

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  45. Mithras says:

    Good luck with that lawsuit!

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  46. Michael Reynolds says:

    I think what’s being missed here is that no one under the age of 30 gives a rat’s ass if he’s showering with gays.

    Every school in this country has gay kids — openly gay kids — and straight guys have been showering with them. Straight 14 year-olds shower with gay 14 year-olds every school day. Every day, in every school. Amazingly the sky has not fallen.

    This an old fart conversation. It’s embarrassing. Like listening to old men in the 50’s denouncing Elvis for shaking his pelvis. Buy a calendar: it’s 2010.

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  47. TangoMan says:

    I think what’s being missed here is that no one under the age of 30 gives a rat’s ass if he’s showering with gays.

    Cool. Now we can dismantle all that anti-gay hate legislation.

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  48. An Interested Party says:

    Cool. Now we can dismantle all that anti-gay hate legislation.

    Well, if it weren’t for people like you, of course we could…

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