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?