On Saturday, following months of gyrations, the U.S. Senate repealed the military ban on open service by gays and lesbians known as Don't Ask Don't Tell.
This policy has been under heavy scrutiny since the end of President George W. Bush's second term, and promises to repeal DADT were made repeatedly during the 2008 presidential campaign. An entire year of political rancor was required, a survey of 400,000 active duty and reserve troops was conducted, the conditions of repeal were slanted in favor of military control, and, still "...the current law and policy will remain in effect."
It ain't over 'til it's over.
Clearly, the legislative branch doesn't want to rush this process. Yet there was pressure to act, not only because of political promises and activists' pressure, but also due to the actions of a federal court in California that found DADT to be a violation of the constitution.
If Congress didn't act on this "repeal" -- this generous deal that allows Congress to pass the policy off to the military to end DADT at their own discretion, with no mandated timeline for implementation and no language barring discrimination against LGBT personnel -- there was real concern that a judge could force the abrupt end of DADT.
Still, as long as DADT remains in effect, an injunction by a judge remains a possibility.
You didn't hear acknowledgment of this sweet deal during the past few months. The drawn-out debate was an opportunity for politicians on both sides to grandstand by using the predicament of LGBT military personnel to further their political status.
Arizona Sen. John McCain made a spectacular ass out of himself on Saturday.
He said it was "a very sad day"
and then incoherently connected open service with Marines having their legs blown off. Someone needs to tell the old codger that a blow job involves a mouth and genitals. Limbs usually aren't engaged in the process.
He also said that "elite schools that bar military recruiters from campus"
will feel good about helping faggots, but small-town rednecks will cry about having a fudgepacker involved in the next scheme to seize imaginary WMDs from a country deemed to be a threat to America.
The voice of the Democrats in this debate was Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman
, who technically isn't a Democrat. He either drew the short straw in the deal-making back room or he is the senator with the least to lose (avoids being called a fag-enabling Democrat) and the most to gain (up for re-election in 2012). Joe can be a liberal hero without having to be a liberal hero.
This process has also produced a great deal of anxiety and tears for non-politicians. Lt. Dan Choi, the gay activist arrested after handcuffing himself to the White House fence three times this year in protest against DADT, was hospitalized briefly last week
after suffering exhaustion and stress related to this drawn-out repeal.
Lady Gaga wasn't bluffing with her muffin when she said she "couldn't hold back the tears"
following the Senate vote that ended DADT. Her meat dress was at the cleaners, but when it's back she will wear it with renewed pride (and probably some A1 Steak Sauce).
The silly thing about this conversation is that queers have always been involved in the stupid actions of our bloated military. Does it somehow help a solder to NOT know that a gay person is sleeping or showering or shitting nearby? Will it suddenly become obvious that a gay is present in a way that was undetectable last week? Are gays going to start dancing around the commissary as soon as DADT is officially lifted?
The eventual repeal of DADT
will not make it fun to be a gay person in the military. The end of DADT means that gay people won't be fired merely for claiming the identity. That doesn't mean they won't have to put up with a torrent of shit from homophobes who will be at full liberty to vent their irrational and unapologetic bigotry toward sexual minorities. There will be no repeal of the right of homophobes to be as hateful and ignorant as they wanna be.
That bias will keep DADT alive long past this "repeal" date and the real
end of the enforcement of this policy. Patrick Connors is an uppity fag that would like to think he won't write another post on this topic but that seems like wishful thinking
.Follow him on Twitter at @UppityFag and @TheSnitchSF