Friday, December 3, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Get Busted

So one of the interesting things about the debate surrounding repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the U.S. military is that almost no one (and exactly no one that I've encountered) realizes that Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) did not make it illegal for gays to serve in the Armed Forces. The policy, in fact, served almost exactly the opposite function.

Long before DADT, homosexuality was a violation of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and was subject to punishment by administrative discipline (Captain's Mast or Article 15) and/or Court Martial. It still is.

DADT was an attempt by President Clinton to bypass the UCMJ (Congressional law) by winking at the gays and saying, "Yes, it's technically illegal to engage in homosexual acts, but we won't ask you if you're gay if you won't tell us you are." Previously, it was an element of the enlistment questionnaire to ask prospective soldiers and sailors whether or not they were gay. Answering in the affirmative would effectively preclude their service.

Repealing DADT does nothing to make it legal for gays to serve in the Armed Forces. In fact, if one were clever and interpreted it liberally, it would only mean that the Services could start asking again. For, it is still a violation of the UCMJ to engage in sodomy.

As it should be.


JD Linton said...

That is what I thought but no one ever put it as clearly as you did. Thanks.

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