Finally a Victory for Gays Using the Bill of Rights, Let Them Serve
October 13, 2010
(Chattahbox Op/Ed News) – United States District Judge Virginia Phillips finally has the courage to do something that should have happened long ago. She stood up and rationally and clearly sounded a bell and created an opportunity to peal another layer of discrimination off of American society. What she has done took courage and vision, and most importantly she saw the Constitution being abused and put a stop to it.
The Fifth Amendment states: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Following the common sense spirit of the Bill of Rights, as of today it is no longer a crime to be a homosexual in the United States Military, as so it should be. Clearly Judge Virginia Phillips finally did what the political process was unable to do; correct an egregious flaw that allowed homophobia to be the law instead of allowing American’s to serve their country no matter what their sexual preference is. Finally!
Interestingly, the initial lawsuit challenging “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was filed by Log Cabin Republicans, a gay civil rights group. Who saw that coming?
Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily mean this is now a done deal. There could very well be an appeal from the Obama administration. Our lawmakers could finally act on this issue, as was attempted unsuccessfully last week, or, gasp, if his decision is left alone; it is over once and for all.
I’m not naïve enough to believe that this is the last we will hear about his topic, and the military is still adamant that they are best suited to decide on this policy, but in my opinion they have had a few centuries to deal with this issue and decided that gay equals bad. And, by the way, they are wrong.
As many of you are aware, gay people serve openly in the military in many countries around the world, and have so for many years. The net effect? Just more quality members in the military. Sounds like common sense to me.
While more than 12,500 people have been forced out of the military since “don’t ask, don’t tell” was put into effect, it came at a time when we needed a stronger, smarter military. Do a little research and you will find that some incredibly intelligent and capable people, not to mention well trained, were forced to leave their duty because of their sexual preference. I am still waiting for someone to show me how being gay means you can’t be a good soldier.
What Judge Phillips did was apply law and common sense to a new reality taking root in this country. And I am strongly suggesting that this ruling could be the beginning of a new understanding that one’s sexual preference has literally nothing to do with their ability to do a job, any job.
Sadly, homophobia is still a dangerous and hated filled part of our society. There is some reason to be optimistic that attitudes toward gays are getting better, but we are a long way from safety and complete acceptance. This ruling should help, and I sincerely hope it does.
This does not mean that gays in the military should all come out today as the legal options are still on the table and lawmakers can enact, at any time really, policy that would reverse this decision. So be forewarned.
As we have seen many states deal with the issue of fairness and equality for gays, we have also seen some move backwards as well. But, I am encouraged by this ruling, and I am hopeful that we can now move on from this issue and focus on issues that actually matter. Ones sexual preference has absolutely nothing to do with their ability to serve and I dare anyone to come up with an argument to support their claim that is does.
Bravo, Judge Virginia Phillips. Her ruling states in plain English and orders the military, “immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have been commenced” under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
Tony Trupiano is a former national syndicated progressive radio talk show host, author, and a former candidate for Congress. He is also a nationally recognized media trainer. He can be reached at email@example.com.