Tag Archives: gays-lesbians

It’s OK To Be Gay In Argentine

One has images of Argentine in which people are dancing a samba or lovers embracing to the sound of music. Perhaps, I am a romantic, but Buenos Aires has always been a symbol of love and laughter. The Argentine legislature passed a bill that makes legal gay and lesbian marriages and confers all legal rights to match those now possessed by heterosexual couples. The vote was 33 to 27 and the long deferred rights for gays and lesbians is now official. The Catholic Church was adamantly against the law, but was unable to prevent it from happening. Argentine simply joins a host of other countries which have turned away from ancient beliefs and powerful emotions. Ironically, humans have most probably employed every form of sexual relationship during our evolutionary process.

Relax, people of Argentine, the sun will arise tomorrow and night will fall. In fact, there will be more couples dancing the samba.

Shut Up Or Leave Service!

Admiral Mike Mullen, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff made clear to General Benjamin Mixon that his comments concerning gay soldiers were unprofessional and indicated lack of comprehension as to how an officer should conduct himself while in the military service. Mixon, who head Army forces for the Pacific command, urged those who serve under him to protest lifting the ban on gays serving and even told them to get family members to fight to end any changes in the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law. As Admiral Mullen put it to Mixon, if you don’t approve changes in the law, then “vote with your feet” and get the hell out of the armed forces!

Those who serve in leadership positions within the American military should understand they are subject to civilian authority and they can not challenge the president of the United States.

Gays Gaily Serve In Foreign Armies, But Not In US Army!

President Barack Obama promised if elected to change the law which forbids gays and lesbians to serve in their nation’s armed forces. Since the notorious, “don’t ask, don’t tell” law passed under the Clinton administration, over 12,000 gays and lesbians have been forced to resign from the armed forces including dozens of trained linguists in Arabic, a skill desperately needed in wars being fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. Israel lifted restrictions on gays and lesbians in 1992, and a recent cover of an Army magazine portrayed two gay soldiers kissing. Australia has lifted restrictions and the United Kingdom was compelled in 1999 by the European Court of Human Rights to allow gays and lesbians to serve in the armed forces.

Representative Patrick Murphy, the first Iraq war veteran to be elected to Congress expressed his anger at the current restrictions against gays and lesbians. “I take it as a personal affront to our warriors. To say that other countries’ soldiers are professional enough to handle this and Americans are not, is really a slap in the face.”

Of course, there is no evidence that those fighting in actual battle object to having gays and lesbians in their ranks.

Supreme Court Won’t Tell About Gay Policy

The United States Supreme Court refused to allow a challenge to the existing military policy which prevents lesbians and gays from serving in the armed forces. The famous “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy has been in effect since the 1990s and President Barack Obama has promisd to end it as soon as possible. The Court refused to rule on an appeal from former Captain James Pietrangelo who was dismissed from the service for violating the gay policy. It said the Federal appeals court which threw out his case ruled correctly that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is “rationally related to the government’s legitimate interest in military discipline and cohesion.” The Federal court was evaluating the armed forces policy through the lens of a 2003 Supreme Court decision which struck down a Texas ban on sodomy as an unconstitutional intrusion on privacy rights.

Hopefully, gays and lesbians will have their rights restored in the coming months when President Obama finally ends the ridiculous idea about not asking or telling. Gays and lesbians have served their nation and should not have their rights violated.

Obama Stirs Waters Of Conflict

President-elect Barack Obama has created a storm of protest from gay activists because he invited Rick Warren, a noted opponent of gay rights, to deliver the opening prayer at the inauguration ceremonies on the steps of Congress. Opponents of the selection argue there are hundreds of possible pastors to deliver the sermon, but Obama chose a noted right wing evangelical leader who is against abortion and gay rights. Obama defended his choice of Warren by arguing: “It is no secret that I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans. It is something that I have been consistent on and something that I intend to continue to be consistent on during my presidency. What I’ve also said is that it is important for America to come together, even though we m ay have disagreements on certain social issues.”

Gay rights activists regard the selection as a ‘slap in the face to millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who donated for, worked for and helped elect Obama.” This is one of those situations in life where one could argue both sides of the question. Gays and lesbians have every right to be furious. Obama also has logic on his side in bringing into the tent those who disagree with him. Perhaps, Barack Obama is being under rated because he may be campaigning for re-election even before he has been sworn in for the first term.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Should We Be Asking Now?

Sam Nunn, former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committe, and an individual who played a key role in developing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gays and lesbians in the 1990s is now raising questions about the policy’s relevance to modern times. Nunn worked with Professor Charles Moskos in developing the policy during the early years of the Clinton administration. Nunn says that Moskos, who played a key role in developing the concept, only regarded it as a temporary compromise, not as a permanent policy. Sam Nunn now suggests, “it is appropriate to take another look at it, see how it is working, ask the hard question, hear from the military” as to whether they want it continued. As Nunn now points out, “times have changed” and it is time to rethink if we need a new policy.

It is a healthy sign when a conservative like Sam Nunn is raising questions concerning rights of gays and lesbians.

Are Lithuanians Accepting Of Diversity?

A recent poll of Lithuanians indicate a significant number of them would accept the presnce of Romas in their wokplace but would prefer not having much social interaction with them. Seven out of ten Lithuanians would not mind having Romas working beside them and they would also welcome those with different sexual orientations in the workplace. Apparently, the Lithuanians have come to accept the necessity of working with people from diverse backgrounds but they simply don’t want them as neighbors or would welcome them in their social interactions. There was an interesting split between attitudes of employers and workers. About 75% of bosses believe Romas lack the skills to perform job tasks as contrasted with 26% of employees having such views.

What do the polls tell us that we don’t know? There apparently is a slight shift in attitudes among many Lithuanians from great hostility to Romas and lesbians or gays to a more relaxed approach as long as interations take place at work. Change takes time, but for those living today, your time is taking place at the expense of their time.

Yes To Felon, No To Gay, It’s The Army Way!

The absurdity of the Defense Department policy toward gays and lesbians was illusrated by the latest statstics which indicate convicted felons, people guilty of manslaughter and so on can get waivers to enter the armed forces, but there is no room for gays and lesbians.! Aubrey Sarvos. executive director of the military watchdog group Servicemembers Legal Defense Network blasted the DOD in a blistering statement: “On the one hand, the Pentagon is discharging highly-qualified, honest, law-abiding men and women because they are gay, while on the other hand, granting waivers to rapists, killers, kidnappers and terrorists. Granting waivers for child molestors and rapists to serve while discharging lesbians and gays is utter madness.”

We truly inhabit a Kafka like world run by a president who invents enemies as readily as he lies about WMD. Where else but under the Bush banner of fighting terrorism would America get rid of law-abiding citizens in order to hire criminals and rapists!!

Coming Out But Staying In For Gay Soldier

Sgt. Daniel Manzella told an officer he was a homosexual and the officer turned him in. During the investigation, Manzella ladmitted he was gay and even offered visual confirmation, a home video showing him kissing a civilian boyfriend. Needless to say, Manzella was rather surprised at the final verdict of his commanding officer. “They found no evidence of homosxuality,” says Manzella. This verdict, and dozens of others, merely confirms the growing reality on the part of the United States armed forces that current conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan require retention of every qualified soldier in the ranks, gay or straight or whatever. The Manzella story was recounted on “60 Minutes” but nothing happened. There has been a dramatic drop in the number of gay and lesbian discharges over the past five years to nearly half the 1,273 who were discharged in 2001.

The ironic aspect of Bush’s fiasco in Iraq is the apparent benefit it has provided gay and lesbian soldiers. In an era in which the United States refuses to undertake a draft and thus requires volunteers to fill the ranks of its armed forces, gay and lesbian soldiers will be welcomed. We are living in the age of pragmatism when it comes to topics such as sexual orientation, America increasingly examines the individual, not their sexual behavior. So, is George Bush patron saint of ending gay and lesbian discrimination?