Just when things seemed to be lightening up regarding homosexual men and women serving their nation and saluting their Commander-in-Chief honestly and openly, the Army walks back toward the nation’s institutionalized bigotry.
Apparently Army Secretary John McHugh showed a bit too much enthusiasm for the changes President Obama says he wants to enact with the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and had to issue the statement below about which I am sure he feels some angst.
In short, McHugh makes clear in the statement below that gay men and women will still be discharged and that in the process of soliciting the “views” of people in the military that personal disclosures of homosexual status will not be protected and can result in discharge.
Unbelievable — Everyone solicited by Gates & Co. about this significant personnel policy change will have to continue to lie.
For those interested in this subject, I wrote this piece after the Human Rights Campaign hosted President Barack Obama at its annual gala dinner. A friend wanted to attend the dinner in military uniform, and I felt very conflicted warning him that such a gesture could result in his potentially being discharged.
Here is Army Secretary John McHugh’s statement:
Statement by Army Secretary John McHugh
“Yesterday, in response to a series of questions from reporters regarding “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, I made several statements that require further comment.
“First, while President Obama has asked Congress to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, it is and remains the law of the land. As I have testified before Congress and Secretary Gates has made clear, the Department of the Defense will continue to apply the law, as we are obligated to do.
“Second, I was incorrect when I stated that Secretary Gates had placed a moratorium on discharges of homosexual service-members. There is no moratorium of the law and neither Secretary Gates nor I would support one. Further, the recent changes to implementing regulations authorized by Secretary Gates, which I support, apply the law in a fairer and more appropriate manner; they do not in any way create a moratorium of the law.
“Third, with regard to the three soldiers who shared their views and thoughts with me on “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, I might better have counseled them that statements about their sexual orientation could not be treated as confidential and could result in their separation under the law. Because of the informal and random manner in which these engagements occurred, I am unable to identify these soldiers and I am not in a position to formally pursue the matter.
“Secretary Gates has committed to soliciting the views of men and women in uniform across the military, including those who are gay and lesbian, within the parameters of the review process he has established. The intra-department, intra-service working group, lead by Jeh Johnson, general counsel of the Department of Defense, and Gen. Carter Ham, commander, U.S. Army Europe, is working to determine the most effective and most comprehensive way to do this. The working group is likely to utilize a third party from outside of the department to solicit these views so soldiers can speak candidly and without fear of separation. I urge every soldier to share his or her views and suggestions on this important issue through this channel. This is the appropriate way to do so.
I strongly support the deliberative process that Secretary Gates has established to review this important issue. Until Congress repeals “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, it remains the law of the land and the Department of the Army and I will fulfill our obligation to uphold it.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
— Steve Clemons