My good friend and Senior Research Fellow for the Heritage Foundation poses some legitimate questions that Congress needs to answer prior to eliminating the review period and hastily moving forward with the repeal of DADT:
Congress and the Administration should serve our nation and put the armed forces first by declining a politically expedient and hasty vote, allowing the Pentagon to finish the now-in-progress assessment scheduled for delivery this December, and giving members of Congress and the American people time to examine the results of that assessment in an open and exhaustive public debate. That debate can and should address at least the following questions:
1. What does full repeal mean, and how does it improve the national security of our nation?
2. What do officers and service members actually think about the current policy and proposals to repeal it? Can an accurate assessment be obtained and how? Will service members feel free to state their actual views without threat of reprisal?
3. What would be the impact of repeal on retention policies and results and recruitment policies and results?
4. What would be the impact of a full repeal on particular operational issues (e.g., fraternization, submarine service, field deployment, special forces, etc.)?
5. Some jurisdictions now license homosexual unions either as marriages, domestic partnerships, or civil unions. If Congress’s policy on homosexuals serving openly in the military is changed, and military personnel enter into officially licensed same-sex unions under state law, what would be the impact on military family policy with respect to benefits related to housing, insurance, and other compensation contingent on spousal or family status?
6. How would changing Congress’s military eligibility law affect other federal laws, including the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as the union of husband and wife? Would a change to the current law make the U.S. military exempt from the application of DOMA? If Congress fails to make its intentions clear, could a later court interpret a change to the current ban on open homosexuality as an implicit repeal of DOMA? How would repealing the statutory ban on open homosexuality in the military affect constitutional litigation challenging the traditional definition of marriage at the state and federal levels?
7. What would be the impact on the personal moral beliefs and religious expression of other service members? Will the utterance of a belief that homosexual conduct is morally wrong be punishable in any manner as an expression of discrimination or intent to discriminate?
8. What would be the impact on service chaplains and counselors who may have specific denominational or personal views on the illicitness of same-sex conduct and same-sex relationships? Could they face punitive, administrative or remedial measures (e.g., sensitivity training) that impact their ability to perform their professional roles or infringe on their right to hold and express certain moral or religious views?
9. If military personnel express disagreement with changes to policy approving of homosexuality, how will that affect their careers?
10. Will homosexuality be considered a protected class for promotion or advancement purposes? Will the new law require that promotion boards include precept language requiring the promotion of homosexuals?
Clearly, the answers to these questions have broad import for present and future members of the armed forces.
About Jeremy Dys
Jeremy Dys is the FPCWV's President and General Counsel. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family.