Speaking of Women's Rights: The Gays Vs The Joint Strike Fighter, The Family Research Council, and... Good Ol’ Fashioned Ignorance.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Gays
The Joint Strike Fighter,
The Family Research Council,
Good Ol’ Fashioned Ignorance.

I sat here this morning, mouth agape, reading about a “study” (really want to emphasize the air quotes there) that brought the Family Research Council to this conclusion: A repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy will lead to soldiers having unwanted gay sex.

The group throws out some figures about sexual assault that on face value seem pretty disconcerting. According to Peter Sprigg, Senior fellow at FRC "homosexuals in the military are about three times as likely to commit sexual assaults as heterosexuals are." (having committed 8.2% of sexual assaults in the military in 2009) Disconcerting, that is, until you really think about it. Let me ask you this, Mr. Sprigg: In an environment where a person is not allowed to discuss his or her sexual orientation, how would one expect to get an accurate count of how many service men and women are in fact gay or lesbian? (a number that would surely be necessary in order to factor out a statistic such as this).

And you know who commits nearly all of the other 91.8% of sexual assaults? Presumably-heterosexual men. You heard anyone talking about booting them out of the military? Yeah…didn’t think so.

Though both the house and the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee voted for a repeal of DADT (234-194 and 16-12, respectively), a full repeal is far from a done deal. The measure was tacked onto a $760 billion military spending bill, placing pro-military Republicans between a rock and a hard place.

The bill includes several items that could snag up passage of DADT, most predominately a little piece of equipment called the Joint Strike Fighter. Written into the military spending bill is a second engine for the fighter plane. There are differing opinions on exactly how necessary this spare part is, but President Obama has threatened to veto the entire spending bill over it. And while the president has said that the DADT repeal “will help make our armed forces even stronger and more inclusive by allowing gay and lesbian soldiers to serve honestly and with integrity,” he has also said that he won’t support the bill if funding for the second fighter engine remains.

Even the folks who do agree, can’t agree on much. It seems that as usual, it’s all in the details. An ongoing study with a due date of December 1st is creating dissonance between two factions: A) Those who feel the repeal should happen now, but be contingent on the findings of the study, and B) those who want the legislation put on hold until after the study is concluded. The details of the study – the methods being used, who’s actually compiling the data and how, etc. – seem to be elusive at this point, the deadline being our only piece of concrete knowledge about a report that game-changing policy will hinge on.

Luckily we’ve got one unlikely advocate. This from the Fox News Blog (?!):

“Let’s see if we have this straight. A Democratic president, who’s presided over a staggering jump in federal spending over the past year, admonishing a Democratic Congress for not tightening its fiscal belt. And that’s to say nothing of infuriating gays and lesbians who supported the president in 2008.” (emphasis mine)

Gee, thanks Fox News. Clearly their disdain for the President has reached a new high, when they’ve begun to side with the gay community on an issue like DADT.

So where does all of this put gays and lesbians? On the defensive – I guess – waiting around, with that giant incline called “equality” still looming.