Topics in the News: Gays in Military

Mike Pence on Gays in Military: (Homeland Security Sep 22, 2020)
Homosexuals in the ranks weakens unit cohesion

[Mike Pence Announcement Speech via Wayback Machine, 2000]: "In addition to defense spending, Congress should lead a national debate on reforming the military by:. (4) bringing an end to the 'don't ask/don't tell' policy of permitting homosexuals to serve in the armed forces. Homosexuality is incompatible with military service because the presence of homosexuals in the ranks weakens unit cohesion."
Click for Mike Pence on other issues.   Source: FactCheck on 2020 Trump Research Book

Stacey Abrams on Gays in Military: (Civil Rights Jun 9, 2020)
LGBTQ+ played identity politics for 150 years

The development of identity politics for the LGBTQ+ community has stretched over nearly150 years in America. Forced for most of American history into the shadows of daily life, the emergence of a social movement got it's initial start during World War 2, the first interrogation of "don't ask don't tell" led to members of LGBTQ+ community enlisting in armed forces, and a relaxation of social restraints permitted more open behaviors. The public demand for equality for the LGBTQ+ community coincided and intersected with the rise of the civil rights movement. The stonewall movement, which began with a raid of a gay club in 1969, launched a more sustained effort to gain equality in mental health treatment, healthcare, housing, employment, marriage, and adoption. What remains a tension in the LGTBQ+ movements are the conflicts that race ,class and gender expose when wrapped in the national debate on sexual orientation.
Click for Stacey Abrams on other issues.   Source: Our Time Is Now, by Stacey Abrams, p.157

Mike Bloomberg on Gays in Military: (Homeland Security Jan 20, 2020)
Reverse ban on transgender people serving in the military

Mike will reverse President Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the military and grant an honorable discharge to servicemembers who were forced out under the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy.
Click for Mike Bloomberg on other issues.   Source: 2020 Presidential campaign website

Kirsten Gillibrand on Gays in Military: (Civil Rights Jul 31, 2019)
They said repealing DADT was impossible, so I did it

If you want to get something done, tell me it's impossible. I was told you couldn't repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Members of my own party told me it wasn't convenient. We got it done. Ten years ago I was told you couldn't pass health care for our 9/11 first responders. Even when Congress turned its back on them, we kept fighting. Just last week we made the 9/11 health bill permanent.

Beating Donald Trump definitely not impossible. We need a nominee who doesn't know the meaning of impossible.

Click for Kirsten Gillibrand on other issues.   Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit)

Bernie Sanders on Gays in Military: (Civil Rights Feb 19, 2019)
1983: Approved "Gay Rights Day" in Burlington Vermont

On LGBTQ rights, Sanders has touted his early moves in support of the gay rights movement. In 1983, as mayor of Burlington, he approved a resolution declaring "Gay Rights Day;" in 1993, he opposed the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy; and in 2000 he supported gay civil unions in Vermont. He opposes President Donald Trump's push to ban transgender people from the military, and laws that would block transgender people from using the bathrooms of their choice.
Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls

Kirsten Gillibrand on Gays in Military: (Civil Rights Jan 16, 2019)
End the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy

Click for Kirsten Gillibrand on other issues.   Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls

Kirsten Gillibrand on Gays in Military: (Homeland Security Sep 9, 2014)
Dont-Ask-Dont-Tell caused 13,000 qualified soldiers to leave

Arguments against the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy could be found everywhere. In addition to being morally outrageous and corrosive, Don't Ask, Don't Tell undermined military readiness. Since 1994, when the law was first implemented, approximately 13,000 well-trained military personnel had been discharged from the U.S. military for being gay. More than 2,000 of those people were experts in mission-critical disciplines. The military lost close to 10 percent of it's foreign-language speakers. The cost of implementing the policy, from 1994 to 2003--including recruitment, retraining, and separation travel--was somewhere between $190 million to $360 million. I didn't understand how a reasonable person could think that such money would not have been better spent on equipment, mental or physical health services... almost anything.
Click for Kirsten Gillibrand on other issues.   Source: Off the Sidelines, by Kirsten Gillibrand, p.111

Deval Patrick on Gays in Military: (War & Peace Sep 4, 2012)
Obama ended war in Iraq & is ending war in Afghanistan

We shape our own future. Let's start by standing up for President Barack Obama. This is the president who delivered the security of affordable health care to every single American after 90 years of trying. This is the president who brought Osama bin Laden to justice, who ended the war in Iraq and is ending the war in Afghanistan. This is the president who ended "don't ask, don't tell" so that love of country, not love of another, determines fitness for military service. Who made equal pay for equal work the law of the land. This is the president who saved the American auto industry from extinction, the American financial industry from self-destruction, and the American economy from depression. Who added over 4.5 million private sector jobs in the last two-plus years, more jobs than George W. Bush added in eight. The list of accomplishments is long, impressive and barely told.
Click for Deval Patrick on other issues.   Source: 2012 Democratic National Convention speech

Elizabeth Warren on Gays in Military: (Civil Rights Dec 10, 2011)
Repeal DOMA; repeal DADT; support ENDA

Warren spokesperson Kyle Sullivan says: "I can tell you from hearing Elizabeth talk about these issues that she supports marriage equality, supports repeal of DOMA, and agreed with repeal of DADT. She also supports ENDA and believes strongly that LGBT individuals should have their rights protected."
Click for Elizabeth Warren on other issues.   Source: 2012 Senate campaign website,

Michael Bennet on Gays in Military: (Civil Rights Sep 29, 2010)
Opposition to homosexuality is an outdated views of society

An issue that illustrates the differences between Buck and Bennet is the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. When asked about repealing don't-ask-don't-tell, Sen. Bennet said he supported lifting the ban, saying opposition to homosexuality was a result of "outdated views of our society."

Buck said, "I do not support the repeal of don't-ask-don't-tell. I think it is a policy that makes a lot of sense." The don't-ask-don't-tell policy itself was instituted during the Clinton years and prohibits inquiries into the sexual orientation of military members. The current policy states that a person who makes their sexuality known is subject to discharge under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The Colorado Independent, in a story titled "Coloradans mostly agree with Bennet not Buck on don't-ask-don't-tell," reported that the majority of Coloradans supported lifting the ban. However, Buck's opinion appears to be more in line with the majority of generals and service-members.

Click for Michael Bennet on other issues.   Source: Greeley Gazette coverage of 2010 Colorado Senate debate

Rand Paul on Gays in Military: (Homeland Security Sep 23, 2010)
Military should decide don't-ask-don't-tell policy

Democratic US Senate nominee Jack Conway says gays should be allowed to serve openly in the US military, while his Republican rival, Rand Paul, says the military should decide the issue. Kentucky's US Senate candidates were asked their opinions on the so-called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the wake of this week's unsuccessful effort by Democrats in the US Senate to repeal it.

When Conway was asked whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military, he said "yes," without elaborating.

Paul's campaign spokesman said in an e-mail without elaboration, "Dr. Paul believes this is a matter that should be decided by the leadership of the military, not through political posturing."

Republicans in the US Senate this week stopped a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" when Democrats attached an amendment seeking the repeal to a defense bill. Republicans said a Pentagon study on the impact of ending the policy should be completed before there is any move toward repeal.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: Lexington Herald-Leader on 2010 Kentucky Senate debate

Barack Obama on Gays in Military: (Homeland Security Apr 13, 2010)
OpEd: Promised to close Guantanamo but it's still open

You may disagree with many of these promises. You're probably glad they failed. But don't let that stop you from using them to defeat Obama.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Take Back America, by Dick Morris, p.262

Barack Obama on Gays in Military: (Homeland Security Aug 26, 2007)
Repeal Donít-Ask-Donít-Tell

Obama believes we need to repeal the ďdonít ask, donít tellĒ policy in consultation with military commanders. The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Obama will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure we accomplish our national defense goals.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2008 Presidential campaign website, ďFlyersĒ

Joe Biden on Gays in Military: (Homeland Security Aug 9, 2007)
Donít Ask Donít Tell is antiquated & unworkable

Q: Would you support a repeal of the ďDonít Ask, Donít TellĒ policy which would allow gay, lesbian, and bisexual soldiers the right to serve openly in the military?

A: Sen. Biden supports ending the Donít Ask, Donít Tell policy. It is antiquated and unworkable. According to recent polls, 3/4 of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan said that they had no problem serving with openly gay people. 24 of the nations serving alongside US forces in Iraq permit open service which has had no negative impact on these forces or the morale of our brave soldiers. Finally, the US does not have enough troops to fulfill our current missions--it is ridiculous to turn away brave and patriotic Americans who volunteer to serve solely because of their sexual orientation--especially in light of the Defense Departmentís recent decision to extend tours of duty in Iraq. Sen. Biden believes that we should treat everyone serving in the military by the same standards regardless of orientation.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: 2007 HRC/LOGO debate--written questionnaire

Hillary Clinton on Gays in Military: (Homeland Security Aug 9, 2007)
Wants to repeal donít-ask-donít-tell, but not until 2009

Q: Youíve said that you would like to repeal ďDonít ask, donít tell.Ē Now, since 2003, youíve sat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, the committee that would decide this issue. Why havenít you introduced legislation to repeal this policy?

A: The very simple answer is we didnít have a chance with the Republican Congress and George Bush as president. And I want to get it done when Iím president. I want to do it and have it be successful. I donít want to try, in a Republican Congress, with a very negative president, and have it defeated. Weíre talking, now that we have a Democratic Congress, about what steps we can take to sort of lay the groundwork so that when we do have a change in the White House, we will be able to move on that. But I just want to sort of put it into a broader context, because itís one of my highest priorities. I came out against donít-ask-donít-tell in 1999. It was a transitional action that was taken back at the beginning of my husbandís administration.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2007 HRC/LOGO debate on gay issues

Hillary Clinton on Gays in Military: (Civil Rights Jun 3, 2007)
Donít ask donít tell was an important transition step

Donít ask donít tell was an important first step, But talking about this as though there is a reality out there that a president or a Congress can change with the snap with a finger does a grave disservice to the American people. We have a political process. Thereís checks and balances, the Congress was adamantly opposed at the time to letting gays and lesbians serve openly. ďDonít ask, donít tellĒ was the compromised policy.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2007 Dem. debate at Saint Anselm College

Mike Gravel on Gays in Military: (Civil Rights Jun 3, 2007)
Donít ask donít tell should have gone 20 years ago

Donít ask donít tell should have been gotten rid of 20 years ago.
Click for Mike Gravel on other issues.   Source: 2007 Dem. debate at Saint Anselm College

Barack Obama on Gays in Military: (Civil Rights Mar 27, 2007)
Pass ENDA and expand hate crime legislation

We must be careful to keep our eyes on the prize--equal rights for every American. We must continue to fight for the Employment Non Discrimination Act. We must expand hate crime legislation and be vigilant about how these laws are enforced--.continue to expand adoption rights to make them consistent --and we must repeal the ďDonít ask, donít tellí military policy.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: In His Own Words, edited by Lisa Rogak, p. 44

Hillary Clinton on Gays in Military: (Civil Rights Nov 1, 2003)
Gay soldiers need to shoot straight, not be straight

One of Billís first challenges as commander in chief became the promise he made during the campaign to let gays and lesbians serve in the military as long as their sexual orientation did not in any way compromise their performance or unit cohesion. I agreed with the commonsense proposition that the code of military conduct should be enforced strictly against behavior, not sexual orientation.

Bill knew the issue was a political loser, but it galled him that he couldnít persuade the Joint Chiefs of Staff to align the reality-that gays and lesbians have served, are serving, and will always serve-with an appropriate change in policy that enforced common behavior standards for all. Bill agreed to a compromise: the ďDonít Ask, Donítí TellĒ policy. It has not worked well.

I just wish the opposition would listen to Barry Goldwater, an icon of the American Right, who said, ďYou donít need to be straight to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight.Ē

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Living History, by Hillary Rodham Clinton, p.241-2

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