Sunday, October 2, 2011

Military Base same-sex marriage

The LGBT population in the United States has seen massive progress in the last 20 years. It is amazing to think that in the 90‘s, homosexuals were not allowed to be open about their sexual orientation while serving in the military because of their presumed sexual promiscuity, and the homophobic fear of making the heterosexuals feel uncomfortable. This trend of sexual discrimination is quickly dying out. Last Friday, the Pentagon issued two memos allowing same sex marriages to be performed on United States’ military bases in states where same sex marriages are legal. These ceremonies can also be performed by military chaplains, but they have the right to refuse if same sex marriage does not conform with their religious views. “The guidance further clarifies chaplains are ‘not required’ to participate in a private ceremony if doing so is contrary to their religious beliefs...such ceremonies doesn’t constitute an endorsement of the ceremony by the Pentagon.” (Michael Key, Washington Blade) The determination of using these facilities will now be made on “a sexual-orientation neutral basis” (Michael Key, Washington Blade). This, along with ending the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, are major steps toward equal marriage opportunities for the United States’ LGBT population, especially amongst our servicemen and women. The LGBT community is thrilled about the Pentagon’s decision, Aubrey Servis who is the executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said, “the guidance ‘strikes the right balance’ between allowing gay service members to marry and the respect for religious beliefs [of the chaplains].” (Michael Key, Washington Blade)

Starting in his election campaigns, President Obama has consistently been a strong Gay rights advocate. The military has a convoluted history with LGBT movements. In 2005 a bill titled The Military Readiness Enhancement Act attempted to amend the DADT policy and execute complete nondiscrimination against homosexuals, but was ultimately rejected by Congress. I feel that DADT is a blatant due process violation because it does not protect the rights of the homosexuals who were dismissed from the military because of their sexual orientation. Also, it clearly invades on their right to freedom of speech, simply because if a heterosexual man or woman is allowed to openly discuss their sexual orientation or even their sexual exploits, why should a homosexual have to hide their preferences? During the waiting period of the DADT repeal there were still several cases of men and women being discharged because of their sexual orientation. I feel that these citizens should have the right to reenlist after being denied their legal rights.

The militaries approval of same sex marriage and elimination of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy are two very positive developments in this popular social issue. However, only six states have passed laws offering same sex marriage thus far. So for homosexuals that want to get married, there is still a long road ahead and a fight that has yet to be won. For now, this is one small step in the right direction for same sex marriage, while still providing a necessary balance. The military chaplain’s maintain their right to refuse participation in the ceremony, while those who serve our country gain the right to get married at a military base.


Harry R. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Harry R. said...

While I understand Tntbo's points and support this military policy, I feel it is important to focus on the fact that these military chaplains would only be allowed to preside over ceremonies in states where civil unions have been legalized. This is an important aspect of this issue, for the military is making a sincere attempt to not violate local policies. Until the Supreme Court makes the final verdict on same-sex marriages, policies such as this one will be divided in their application and it is considerate of the military to not cause additional disputes by contradicting state law.

Zermeno A. said...

I am glad to see that we are finally making advancement within our society in order to grant those who serve us, a better tomorrow. Though I do understand that many people in the military could be against higher rights for the LGBT community, I believe that freedom of speech and constitutional rights kick in for all and thus, ending the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy was an essential part of mending prior discrimination towards the LGBT communities within the armed forces. I agree with TNTbo overall, in that same sex military marriages should take place where ever legally available.

kanderson said...

I have two feelings on this issue. I completely agree with Tntbo's thoughts on really how much progress has been made. Though, I feel the struggle and path isn't over. But, this definitely evidence that we are making strides in the right direction. yet, I do agree with Harry that this is difficult because the country is so split on their decision. Some states, yes, some, no. Some courts will, some wont. It is difficult to make head-way when no decisions have been concretely made. Once the supreme court does decide, it will be easier to make specific actions within the military and by their chaplains.