Don't get me wrong. I was happy about the anniversary and reading the articles about how gays and lesbians can now openly serve in the Armed Forces. And I loved the pictures that came with it.
But the bitch in me needed to be fed.
I can remember when the repeal was about to happen, many folks in the religious right were up in arms about it. The Family Research Council, in particular, were making all sorts of dire predictions. From reading what was said by Tony Perkins, Peter Sprigg, and company, one got the impression that repealing DADT would be THE THING which would cause Gabriel to blow his trumpet and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to streak across the skies.
Now that the repeal has been in place for a full year, the gay community seems to be so wrapped up in celebration that it allows Perkins, Sprigg, and company to walk away while nonchalantly whistling a tune with their hands in their pockets.
Allow me to summarize the list.
FRC: Repeal Will Increase The Rate of Sexual Assault
Palm Center Report: Experts “All Concur That Repeal Has Not Led To Any Increase In Assaults.” According to the Palm Center’s report:
[A] comparison of pre- and post-repeal Military Times surveys suggests that the rate of male-male sexual assault did not increase after DADT repeal went into effect. In response to a July/August 2011 pre-repeal Military Times survey, 1.4% of male respondents said that they had been a victim of sexual assault while in the military, compared to 1.1% of male service members who indicated on a January 2012 post-repeal survey that they had been victimized. The pre-repeal percent of men who reported having been sexually assaulted during their military service, in other words, was roughly equivalent to the post-repeal rate. These data call into question any assertion that repeal has led to an increase in assaults.
FRC: Repeal Will Undermine Servicemember Morale
Palm Center Report: No Apparent “Measurable Consequences” As A Result Of Morale Change. According to the Palm Center’s report:
The new policy of open service produced a decrease in morale for a small minority of service members, and enhanced the morale of an even smaller minority. Yet few of those troops who experienced a decline in morale appear to have suffered any measurable consequences. This should come as no surprise, as the extensive scholarly literature on the determinants of military morale does not mention the presence or absence of LGB colleagues. [Palm Center, “One Year Out,” September 2012]
FRC: Repeal Will Undermine Recruitment And Retention
Palm Center Report: “DADT Repeal Has Not Had Any Measurable Impact On Recruitment Or Retention.” According to the Palm Center’s report:
As discussed, a minority of service members reports that DADT repeal has influenced their likelihood of remaining in the military, with some indicating that repeal has made them less likely to re-enlist and others suggesting that they are more likely to remain. What the preponderance of evidence shows, however, is that DADT repeal has not had any measurable impact on recruitment or retention, even among chaplains. It is certainly true that the weak domestic economy and disengagement from two wars have made recruitment and retention easier. But in an era when enlistment standards have tightened, service members were just as likely to say that they plan to re-enlist after DADT repeal as was the case pre-repeal. [Palm Center, “One Year Out,” September 2012, emphasis added]
FRC: Repeal Will Undermine Unit Cohesion
Palm Center Report: “Cohesion Did Not Decline” After DADT Repeal. According to the Palm Center’s report:
Even in those units that included openly LGB service members, and that consequently should have been the most likely to experience a drop in cohesion as a result of repeal, cohesion did not decline after the new policy of open service was put into place. In fact, greater openness and honesty resulting from repeal seem to have promoted increased understanding, respect and acceptance. [Palm Center, “One Year Out,” September 2012]
FRC: Repeal Will Undermine Religious Freedom For Military Chaplains
Palm Center Report: DADT Repeal Has Had “No Measurable Impact” On Chaplain Retention. According to the Palm Center’s report:
Even among chaplains, the evidence suggests that DADT repeal has had no measurable impact on retention. Chaplains were thought to be among those most likely to leave the military after DADT repeal, in part because contracts allow them to resign more quickly than other military members, and many threatened to resign if LGB troops were allowed to serve openly. Such concerns, however, have proven to be unwarranted. Lieutenant Colonel Lisa H. Tice, a chaplain who serves in the personnel, budget and readiness division of the Air Force Office of the Chief of Chaplains, told us that no Air Force chaplains left the military as a result of DADT repeal. Navy Chaplain Capt. John H. Lea III reported that one Navy chaplain separated because of repeal. Lieutenant Colonel Carleton Birch, a spokesman for the Army Chief of Chaplains, said that in March 2011, one Army chaplain left the military over the pending repeal of DADT. But when we called the Army Chief of Chaplains office in June 2012, a spokesperson told us that, “We’ve had nobody else leave for that stated reason in the Army out of the 3,000 or so full-time and part-time chaplains” and that no endorsing denominations had withdrawn their endorsements as a result of DADT repeal. [Palm Center, “One Year Out,” September 2012]
Claiming that gay equality will lead to chaos is a hallmark of religious right deception. You will remember that FRC and other religious right groups claimed that lgbt-inclusive hate crimes legislation would lead to pastors being arrested for simply saying that homosexuality is a sin.
That claim has yet to become reality.
So the way I see it, the religious right is 0 for 2 in claiming that the passage of gay rights initiatives will cause harm.
Unfortunately, the gay community is also 0 for 2 in pushing the issue. While we celebrate our steps to full equality - however tiny they may be - there is nothing wrong with noting that the groups and people who are against us attaining full equality are wrong when they claim that we are somehow the doorways to destruction of American society.
In cases like hate crimes legislation and the DADT repeal, rubbing the religious right's collective face in the fact that they were wrong is not a sign of bad manners, but something which should be embraced as a necessary tactic.