A Look Back: Allies and Foes Testify On DADT

As we edge closer to Tuesday’s implementation of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal, Queerty is taking a look back at the some of the stories that have brought us to this point.

The House was hopping yesterday as five witnesses took the stand to discuss Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell with the Armed Services Committee.

Among the witnesses one could find Eric Alva, a gay Marine who was also the first member of the military wounded in Iraq, as well as Capt. Joan Darrah and Army Maj. Gen. Vance Coleman, both of whom are retired. They all back a DADT repeal, as do the majority of Americans.

Said Alva:

Those who support “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” claim that they do so in the interest of unit cohesion. Well, as a former Marine, I can tell you what it takes to build unit cohesion: trust. It takes trust in your fellow unit members to have your back and do their job. And I can also tell you that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” does nothing but undercut that trust, and with it our nation’s security.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” imposes secrecy and undermines unit cohesion, ousting gays and lesbians at the expense of the military readiness of the United States. Allowing gay, lesbian and bisexual service members to serve openly will only improve unit cohesion and in turn our military.

Right-wing wacko Elaine Donnelly, who’s never even served in the Girl Scouts, took the stand to support the discriminatory policy—which she thinks helps curtail “disruption.” In addition to the standard ideological rubbish, Donnelly also tainted her answer by bringing up HIV, which did not endear her to the Committee.

Donnelly testified that:

“The Armed Forces cannot afford the elevated risk of disruptive homosexual conduct in the ranks,” Donnelly said in her statement. “That risk is even more dangerous when HIV infection enters the picture.”

Attacking Donnelly’s testimony, Snyder sarcastically said, “We ought to recruit only lesbians in the military, because they have the lowest incidence of HIV and AIDS.”

Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) a freshman who served in the Army, was visibly enraged, assailing Donnelly over her statements that allowing openly gay people to serve in the military would hurt unit cohesion. He charged that Donnelly implied that the straight men and women in the military “are not professional enough to be able to maintain unit cohesion.

“This is an insult to me and many of the soldiers,” said Murphy, who served in the Iraq War.

That’s some real shit.

Meanwhile, Steve Ralls of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network blogged all about it.

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  • Matt

    I also like what Christopher Shays (R-Conn) stated:

    “It’s an outrage that you even have to be here to account for your service,” says Connecticut Congressman Christopher Shays to Capt. Darrah, one of the hearing witnesses. Congressman Shays says that the issue of whether allowing gays and lesbians in the military will present additional disciplinary problems is a “scurrilous” argument and that “the issue is that if someone performs perfectly well, but they have a different orientation, should they be allowed to serve in the military?”

    “I think the DADT policy is unpatriotic, it’s unproductive, and in fact, it’s absolutely cruel,” he declares.

    Shays shares a personal story of seeing pictures of his friend and former Congressman Jim Kolbe, who is openly gay, from his days in the military. Shays tells the panel, “For nothing else, I’m here for Jim Kolbe.” Those types of statements really leave a lasting impression.

    I guess not all Republicans are bad afterall?

  • l

    Elaine Donnelly – that stupid twat – was so offensive that the whole room turned against her. Too bad it wasn’t the full House with a vote immediately following.

  • Tom

    Republicans are not all bad, I work in an office full of them. But they are dreadful leaders and policymakers and I do not want to see any of the current versions of Republicans in any positions of leadership or power. This November, San Franciscans will vote to change the name of the sewage treatment plant to George Bush Sewage Plant. That is a fitting role for Republican leaders….since most are full of shit anyway.

    Shays is but one man, and at the time of the Republican convention he will march in lock-step with the others as they declare their opposition to all things gay.

  • Tommy Guns

    It is astonishing to me that DADT is still the law of the land. I served honorably in the Marine Corps for 12 years before being informed that I would not be recommended for reenlistment because the command suspected that I was gay. I can also tell you that there are thousands of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and questioning military personnel serving honorably, protecting the right of the homophobes to discriminate against them. I wish someone would have asked Elaine Donnelly if we bleed, or die, differently than our straight counterparts. As far as unit cohesion, it is a matter of trust between members. When I served, virtually every member of my unit knew of my sexual orientation, and it didn’t seem to bother them. They knew I had their backs, no matter what happened, and it had nothing to do with what we may or may not do off duty. I suggest that Ms. Donnelly bone up on the Sacred Band of Thebes, an awesome military unit of 150 monogamously paired gay warriors. They were a ruler’s best troops or most implacable foes. Their sexual orientation did not get in the way of their duty to their God, country or unit!

  • gayinsf

    As some gay stand-up comic once said…”If they want to keep gays out of the service make the uniforms polyester.”

  • greybat

    And she has the NERVE to say she “respects all the men and women in the military”. What a liar.


    Mr. Murphy YOU ROCK!

    Forced cohabitation?
    Stupid c#nt!


  • Steve

    It isn’t really a question of whether or not gays will serve in the military. Young gay men are just as patriotic as young straight men. Some of them will sign up.

    The question is, whether or not they can be truthful and honest, or whether they have to hold something back, with the other guys in their units.

    What really surprises me is that the service can do a TS background check without finding out who a soldier is sleeping with.

  • Bill Perdue

    The idiocies of rightwing DADT supporters like Bill Clinton, Elaine Donnelly, Sam Nunn and the majprity of Congressional Democrats is not the central question.

    It’s the linkage between opposition to DADT and opposition to the Bush/Clinton genocide in Iraq. In the case of DADT they’re linled by the policies of Democrats, not the Republicans, who are solely responsible for DADT and for refusing to repeal it during the last two years. Similarly the Democrats promised to end the war but it turns out they were lying. No surprise there – it’s what they do for a living. After they got elected they voted FOR war funding and held off impeaching Bush. They also refused to set a date in 2007 or 2008 for total withdrawal.

    Now we know why. Obama, who’s politics are at least as rightwing as McCain’s (union busting with NAFTA, socialized medicine, FISA, bribing ‘faith’ based cults) now promises to continue the war, with it’s awful mauling of GIs and mass murder of Iraqis for at least two more years. He opposes DADT because he’ll need cannon fodder.

    The antiwar movement has plans to demonstrate against both war parties – we’ll be in Denver and Minneapolis. On January 1st we’ll immediately take to the streets in national actions to demand the immediate and total withdrawal of US forces from the Middle East and cutting the US purse strings that pay for the apartheid practiced against Palestinians.

    When we’re picketing the White House we’ll also be chanting “Hey, Hey, Obama (or McCain) how many kids did you kill today.”

    McCain is a rancid right-winger with the Rev. Pat Robertson attached at the hip.

    Obama is Bill Clinton (DOMA, DADT, NAFTA) in drag with the Rev. Donnie McClurkin attached at the hip.

  • Cam

    I have dated several military guys, including 3 years with a Navy guy who was in the Pentagon when it was attacked and spent most of that day helping to pull people and bodies out of the building. I didn’t know if he was alive for nearly an entire day because he was heroiclly going back into a building that was still smoldering….yeah, people like him, people that can be depended on to put their own lives in danger to rescue others would sure are for unit cohesion aren’t they?

  • Out Military

    Thank you for this story Queerty. FYI http://Out­Military.c­om has been providing a supportive environmen­t for friending, sharing and networking between Gay active military, vets and supporters since December, 2010.

  • Dallas David

    @Bill Perdue: Bill Clinton campaigned on integration in 1992. He had a slow start filling his administrative posts when he took office, so he started off with something simple — issuing an Executive Order to allow gays in the military. But when word got out, Jerry Falwell and the other Rabid Fundamentalists went into high gear against queers. They raised lots of money for their churches because of Christian hate for gays, and most of the Democrats backed down. The Republicans threatened to make things a lot worse for gays in the military, but Clinton compromised on DADT because it was at least a step in the right direction.

    Clinton asked the two openly gay Congressmen at the time (Gerry Studds and Barney Frank) for their advice. Barney Frank recommended the incremental advance of DADT, and Gerry Studds wanted no part of DADT, and said the Religious Conservatives would only further ruin their own reputation by putting the (then) current Department of Defense policy of kicking out gays, into the UCMJ.

    Clinton deliberated, then compromised with DADT.
    If I had been Clinton, I would have taken Gerry Studds’ advice, but then a lot of servicemen would have wound up in a military prison — and they’d probably still be there, rotting away.

    It was a bad situation all the way around . . . Clinton misjudged the Christian Fundamentalist’s reaction when he announced that he was thinking of issuing an Executinve Order to “free the gays.” But, ya gotta give him lots of credit for trying.

    Obama, I think, has a pretty good idea of where the US public is at on this issue. Most people are ok with it, but he knows what a few Christian bigots can do with bullhorns and pulpits. Ranting against queers is a time-honored fundraising activity for Southern Babtists and TV Evangelists. And moderate Christians rarely stand up to them.
    So, unless a lot more moderate Christians get a lot more vocal in their objections to the Fundamentalists, Obama is not likely to be much more supportive of gays than he already is.

    All things considered, Obama is doing pretty well with the hand that he was dealt. I plan to vote for him again.

  • the crustybastard

    So when Elaine Donnelly insists that gays should be investigated and discharged, and turned away from military service because their presence “impairs unit cohesion, good order, discipline, and military readiness,” and “will cause significant disruptions to the force,” and “would undermine the morale of the force,” and sends a “damaging message that the concerns of military members do not matter on this issue that directly affects them and their families,” and “would irreparably harm our military and the national security” — that’s irrefutable evidence she’s a right-wing whacko.

    When President Obama dispatches his minions to court to make precisely that argument*, I’m supposed to VOTE FOR the dumb sonofabitch?

    LOL. Fred Phelps is right. Gays do eat a lot of shit.


    * Lest you refuse to believe that was precisely the argument of the Obama Administration, visit Every phrase inside quotes above actually came from the administration’s sworn motion for an emergency stay to keep the military gay ban in legal force indefinitely. Not from Elaine fucking Donnelly.

  • Rainfish

    In spite of Obama’s Obstructionism — Reid and Pelosi finally repealed DADT. After almost two years of Obama insisting that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid put off repeal of DADT, and with very little involvement from the White House, Gay and Lesbian military personnel will soon be able to serve openly to fight to the death for the freedoms they are still denied; which every other American takes so casually for granted.

    Originally, the House bill had a non-discrimination clause attached to the legislation which would protect Gay and Lesbian military personnel from discrimination in the military or, at least, give them a legal tool in order to seek to remedy blatant acts of discrimination based on one’s real or perceived sexual orientation in military such as being passed over for promotion and other forms of unequal treatment related to sexual orientation discrimination. Obama, at the urging of the Pentagon, demanded that the non-discrimination clause be removed from the final version of DADT. Apparently, Obama isn’t ready for patriotic Gay and Lesbian Americans to be treated as equals and their rights of citizenship fully protected just yet.

    Still, some Obama sycophants wonders why the Democratic Party’s progressive base is repulsed by this duplicitous fraud in the White House. And, naturally, Obama has taken full credit for this stripped down and gutted repeal of DADT which has been unnecessarily “slow walked” into existence with plenty of inequities still left standing in place because of Obama’s insistence that the non-discrimination clause be removed from the bill. And, to this day, Barry’s Department of inJustice via AG Holder’s hypocritical and denigrating defense of DADT in the federal courts still insists that DADT was and is constitutional so that it can be brought back again at the whim of the next president and under a future congress.

    Yeah, Obama’s a real hero isn’t he?

  • macmantoo

    It’s not over yet. Come Tuesday some hairbrained Republican will do something to stop the final repeal. Mark my words, they will somehow stop it. And these are the people some of you want us to vote for. The ones who want us to “kill social security” so we can invest in the stock market to make the rich richer. Then some Madoff will come along and there goes your retirement. You have to work 30 more years at minimum wage before you can retire, if it’s not stolen again.

  • Little Kiwi

    have y’all looked at which countries let gay people serve openly in the military and which don’t?

    it makes things rather clear.

    i can’t believe there are Americans still dragging their heels about this…

Comments are closed.