Press Release: The American Legion opposes last-minute DADT appeal

 
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250px-General_James_F__Amos Now is not the time. WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2010 -- The American Legion remains strongly opposed to a renewed and intensified Congressional effort to hastily repeal the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law during Congress’s rapidly expiring lame duck session. The House is expecting to begin debate today on a stand-alone repeal of the military's ban on gay servicemembers revealing their orientation. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD) and Rep. Patrick Murphy (PA) have been working on the issue, and their language tracks with a bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate last week. The Senate may consider a similar bill later this week. The leader of the nation’s largest veterans’ service organization expressed alarm over this latest effort to swiftly overturn the controversial law. “One must ask, what’s the rush?” said Jimmie L. Foster, national commander of The American Legion, “and why should this matter of social policy take precedence over the far more critical matter of national security?” Foster was referring to repeated failure within Congress to pass the overarching National Defense Authorization Act which authorizes appropriations for military activities of the Department of Defense, military construction, equipment acquisition, and military personnel strengths for the 2011 fiscal year. The bill has been set aside in the Senate due to a number of controversial provisions including Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal language. “While our combat troops continue to focus on their mission on the war-front throughout the world, Congress can’t focus on funding those very service members,” said Tim Tetz, director of the Legion’s legislative division. “Congress should rush to pass the Defense Authorization Act and take whatever time is necessary to understand the nuances a repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell would have on our nation’s fighting forces.” The American Legion has repeatedly asserted that now – in the midst of war – is simply not the time for social experimentation. This cautionary message was the same offered by Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos and the leadership of the Army and Air Force. They all agreed in testimony last week before the Senate Armed Services Committee that repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell would be a distraction upon those in combat roles today. Robert W. Spanogle, a past national commander of The American Legion, is critical of the rush to repeal DADT . “Count me in with the Commandant and those soldiers and Marines in the mud on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq, the tip of the spear,” said Spanogle. “Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed said they believed there would be a negative impact on their unit’s effectiveness (with a repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell).” While the House and Senate remain committed to passage of a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, critics join The American Legion in questioning the need to rush this issue to a vote. More than 13 hearings were held when the original law was enacted and the House hasn’t held hearings on the findings of the Department of Defense survey of service members. “The American Legion remains convinced a repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ cannot be easily implemented and could compromise the effectiveness of crucially needed fighting forces. Political expediency should not take precedence over providing adequate time for debate. There is no reason this must be decided in the next two weeks when it has been in place for seventeen years,” concluded Foster.
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Change "Homosexual" to "Negro" and you all sound like the 1950's arguments on why black soldiers should not fight alongside white soldiers. Grow up, there is no segment of any branch of the services that have not had gay members.

I oppose any integrationof gays inthe Army

My position on DADT notwithstanding, I'm not sure I fully comprehend the Legion position. The Legion states that it opposes DADT. Does the Legion have a corresponding, strict adherence to a discrimination policy of not allowing gays as Legionnaires?

I have my renewal form in front of me and I am ripping it up...I will not be a member of an intolerant organization...

I do not agree with gays and lesbians in the military at all, period. That said, however, it does appear that a majority of Americans do want DADT to be repealed so that gays and lesbians can serve openly. Let us just get it done. All of this BS about this is not the time or reasons similar are getting to be old tripe. I was taught that majority rules in this country so if your guys or gals in congress that represent you don't respect your viewpoint on this matter, then vote for someone else next time around. If repeal of DADT hurts recruiting then so be it. We will have to recruit a little harder. If repeal hurts moral in the field that will become evident as the re-enlistment rates drop. What the H#%%, DADT was a social experiment itself.

I served proudly in the US Army for 8 years during the 70's and 80's. I am very straight. I served with soldiers that were gay and it did not affect the Army or my service at all. I have been a Past Post Commander for two years, a district officer and Department Chaplain. I am now wondering if I have much in common with this organization any longer. Gay or straight, still a soldier, sailor or marine. We keep the alcoholics and drug abusers and shun those who truly want to serve. Shame on the National Organization, for it is not the members......

This is going to happen. It's just a matter of time. All this stalling based on outmoded homophobic attitudes will not stop it.

So let's get it over with.

Servicemembers will live with the change, as they have countless other changes in the history of our armed forces. They will adapt. The will continue to be the finest fighting forces on the planet. To give them credit for less is to demean their service, and the sacrifice they make daily to protect our Constitution and our way of life.

Colonel MacLaren, you are a wise man. Good officer. Enjoy Retirement. From an former Army Staff Sergeant.

I'm dropping my membership from the Legion too. For those of you ignorant homophobes that are quoting scripture in defense of hate.... do you think Jesus would hate gay people?? And where does war have a place in Christianity? If you were true Christians, you wouldn't bother with who can and can't serve, you would oppose the war.

DADT is a ideal way to handle a difficult situation. Gay people are ALREADY allowed to serve. Nobody asks your sexual orientation at any time during the enlistment process or during your service. DADT keeps the flamboyant stuff out of the military as it should be, while still allowing gays to serve. As a Desert Storm and submarine veteran, I can tell you the last thing that we would have ever needed is to be stuck 60 - 90 days at sea at a time with flamboyant homosexual(s) in the tightest living conditions you could ever imagine. There is a big difference between someone who is gay and keeps their personal business personal, and the "I am gay, deal with it" crowd that is so vocal in today's media and political realms.

I am glad to hear the American Legion has not been buffaloed or intimidated on this question. I whle heartedly suport the American Legion's position.

Why don't we just introduce coed bathrooms and showers across the country and see how the country likes that idea? Just think of the cost savings....

Well said, James.... thanks.

Intelligent members of Congress would strongly oppose billeting members of the opposite sex in the same barracks bunk room because of the obvious sexual issues.

These same issues exist when bunking homosexuals and heterosexuals in the same area.

All the people who think that the social experiment dropped on the military, called DADT, is a great way to keep our military going are just sheep. Of course you will all deny it but look at what this is doing. The ultimate goal of the queer community is to make gays and lesbians accepted in "normal" life. If the military accepts them then they will be accepted in society. The second part to this goal is to get make us accept their "partners" and then the real goal will be shown. The ultimate goal will be when we allow their "partner" to be accepted as a dependant. As soon as we accept that then we will be allowing them to have a house in base housing and then the free health care comes with that. They will be shopping at the exchange and getting appointments at the base hospital for all their high price diseases. And who will be paying for all the free stuff that their "partner" gets? All you Sheeple. So, go Legion, thank you for opposing my next tax hike to pay for the real goal that the "gay" and "lesbian" community want me to pay for.

I disagree with The Legion's position. There is no justification for a position or belief held in ignorance. I'm sure that western European and Australian military leaders and uniformed members must be finding something sadly amusing about the self aggrandized US military might and prows being challenged by something they instituted years ago without incident or fanfare.

Vietnam veteran, USMC

I agree with Ron H. I am resigning my membership in the American Legion.

Now look folks, these are hard working loyal Americans trying to serve their country just like you and I - let it be. I'd be more concerned about closet Muslims or Black Panthers or Crips and Bloods hiding out in the military and these are the ones you need to worry about. This whole thing is a political football designed to pre-occupy emotional people so that they loose track of more important issues facing our natiion as a whole.
Instead of worrying about gays in the military how about corruption in the military - you know, supply officers and NCO's whose pencils are not quite as sharp as they should be making an extra few bucks selling off military gear to off post pawn shops that cater to the hunting and fishing crowd. How about the Kitchen staff who falsify roster lists so that they receive additional food and take it home routinely as their own personal grocery store? Lets wory about the military contractors who pad their R&D costs so that we as taxpayers pay astronomical prices for military hardware.
You want something to worry about, how about the influx of foreign trade from China that is putting American workers out of a job and cashing in all our debt markers. So please, don't bother me about gays in the military. Let's focus in on more imoportant issues that affect everyone not a select few whose feelings are hurt.

I am retired, not from the Navy, but retired because of age. I have seen the Gays gather dust since I was 12 years old. These people have been pushing to be recognized by the majority of straight people. Those who believe in one man, one woman. Since then they have pushed for people that are gay into government, voting for their own kind to be i office, so they can build up control and power. They know that next year in January 2011, new members in Congress, especially the Republicans, are not going to push for this DADT thing brought by the Gays. Put simply, If they were in my time, they would not last and even so, they would not make it into the Service. Once they are in, if this thing would pass, they will forget the conditions for being in the Military, start loosening up and letting everyone know they are Gay and Serving. A big laugh for us.

I knew when Clinton started this DATA it would come to this one day. I wish and hope and pray that Our Country would just follow God's examples in the bible. Being gay is not of God and letting gays say its a another life style are just fooling there self. You don't have to listen to me read it for your self in the bible. I am glad the American Legion opposes!!!

Those of you that are tearing up their renewals, sorry to hear that you have become "intolerant" also!
THe only way to change anything, is to become involved.
You are doing the opposite, so you can whine and moan about it!

The Military is an organization that requires good order and discipline!
Not silly, loosy-goosy homosexual relationships!
It is choice, not a sickness!
A person that doesn't understand the function of males, and females should not be involved in standing up for their country.
They need to be educated and organized to know who and what they are.
The military is not where they should be!!!!!

The American Legion has been a Resolution Based organization since 1919, and that is unlikely to change. Neither National Officers nor employees are authorized to set a position without a mandate from the National Convention or passed by the National Executive Committee. It is simply not feasible to set up a situation where each Legionnaire "votes" on the roughly 330 resolutions passed each year. If anyone wishes to amend a position, or set one, they need only draft up a resolution and then get it passed. I can aid anyone wishing to put the resolutions in the proper format, but until a resolution is passed, I can take no official action on it.

I truly believe that the people fighting hardest to sit in judgement of someone's sexuality are probably insecure about their own. As a straight
male American Veteran I fought for the liberties for all Americans. Yes, that would include gays as well. Most of the worlds best trained
and toughest fighters don't care if someone is gay. The other respondents to the American Legions' position on DADT are daring to suppose what god said regarding homosexuality, Whatever they consider god's law should be reserved for your church or temple. Stop DADT and start
LMTHA (leave me the heck alone). What are these anti DADT people afraid of.

I am opposed to the stands that the American Legion has taken with regard to DADT and the Dream Act. From the beginning, America has profited from its diverse population. Just what does America stand for? Look at our divorce rate and tell me about America's commitment to "family values" and that "proper"sexual orientation is the only answer. Religious intolerance has manifested itself throughout our political discourse these days. Ethnocentric and racial bias does not promote social and economic growth---it does just the opposite. This nation cannot afford to alienate forty percent, or so, of our population. If people don't feel that they have a stake in the success of our country and trust in their inclusion in it, then why should they support our institutions? Can we afford to waste all that talent?

Focusing on this subject during time of war will get people killed, plain and simple. Soldiers have enough to watch for, as anyone who's seen combat knows. Please don't kill some of our young men and women in uniform by placing this on their shouldiers also.

The lame duck congress should quit trying to pass everything thing they think they can get away with before they leave office. It's irrisponsible, if not criminal. Congress needs to focus on the economy, not this issue.

David Bernard
Combat Medic, during Viet Nam

Hey, TheDesotoKid, God is not an American. If he hates gays, why does he not just will them away.

Now that DADT passed and assuming that it gets signed what will the next law about military service ? Since we now codified a personal behavior what will the legal postions be for other sexual behaviors be? Will the brass hats and windbags in Congress permit females to be in the barracks? Will female only sections of ships be legally allowed or will the ACLU sue for discrimination, due to the sex of members. Will future tailhook parties be ok because military people will be naughty at times.

This is nothing more than the Gay/Lesbian rights groups using every known means to get "money"......
Once this in effect, then comes housing, commissary/PX , insurance, then the post/base schools, medical care , and on and on.....
Money, Money, Money....
This country does not stand for any morals at all nowadays. Its all about what "BENEFITS" one can getby using so-called "Rights".
I do not go into a church and say its all BullSh**, so no need to come out of closet about who you prefer sexually, just for benefits.
Keep it to yourself...Way to go Legion!!!!
This is gonna cost much money, and just wait and see the repurcusions....

It is regrettable that the American Legion as an entity has taken a stance on this issue when it is critical to the legitimacy of this organization in its future endeavors to either remain neutral or take a stance supporting the repeal of this policy that is a stain upon the Constitutional principles and values we have all swore an oath to protect at one time or another. Our oath should be to the Constitution first and foremost, not to our preconditioned societal prejudices against a group of people that only want to do what all of us have done or are doing: serve this great Country in uniform. The reason I say the Legion should remain neutral is that despite what you may believe, many of our fellow Legionnaires, and many of those individuals at the "tip of the spear" serving currently are in fact homosexuals (it is uncontested that homosexuals make up at a minimum 5-10% of the population). You are effectively telling those individuals that their service is not as valuable to this Nation as ours was. The other option is to support repeal. Why? Because as stated, our allegiance is to the Constitution NOT our own personal prejudices. The Legion must honor our Constitution, specifically, the Equal Protection Clause which most assuredly applies to homosexuals; there is simply no justification to not let them serve openly just as there was no legitimate justification to prevent Blacks and other minorities from serving in the same units as whites. This situation is directly analogous to when President Truman exercised true leadership in forcing the Armed Services Integration Act of 1948, despite the objections of Veterans organizations living in the past, the objections of military leaders, and even in light of the known fact it would likely cause disturbances within the force. But, he did it, because there is NO WRONG TIME to do the RIGHT thing, and to HONOR OUR CONSTITUTION. There will undoubtedly be hiccups with repealing the policy, but it will pass, and as in the past, all good Marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen will follow orders and adjust; eventually this will transpire into society as a whole to eliminate discrimination against homosexuals generally. The military must in this case, as it has historically in other civil rights issues, lead the charge for our Nation to the progression of our society and fulfillment of our Revolutionary aspirations to "form a more perfect union." Our union is not perfect yet, and we shall never cease to progress toward that ultimate goal. I appeal to all of you, support our President and Congress in exercising sound leadership for our Nation to repeal this policy, which is an embarrassment to our Nation, and perpetuates a society that tolerates a lower class of citizens, contrary to the direct commandments of our Constitution that all shall be treated equal under the law. Those that let their own personal prejudices trump your allegiance to the Constitution should resign your membership from this organization and should resign your commissions or not re-enlist if you are currently serving, because you are dishonoring your OATH.--Very Respectfully Submitted.

Once again, the AL does not speak for me on this issue. The Legion will continue to suffer, lose membership and respect as it supports policies that are out of step with society. So sad--this could be a great opportunity for the leadership to step forward and show real fortitude and understanding.

I wholeheartly agree with the position of the Legion Commander. The DADT policy has not been shown to be damaging to our national security. The policy may be damaging to people who want to openly express their sexual liberty, but such open expression (heterosexual or homosexual)is very demoralizing and does not contribute to good order and decorum. Repeal of DADT may not be inevitable. Such a change should not be completed without counting the ENTIRE cost. When considered, I believe we will find the cost too high.

What exactly does "openly" mean? I assume the "open" expression of heterosexuality is this reason for seperate latrines, showers, and sleeping arrangements for men and women. It would seem that this "openess" would require the addition of some unknown number of seperate facilities for straight male, straight female, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgendered, etc.. sounds pricey and dicey.

Just don't bend over when you drop the soap!

1966•Week 1–Basic Training, Ft Benning, GA: As trainee Platoon Sergeant, I secured the latrine door as one young south Georgia farm boy (white) learned that he COULD relieve himself while another young farm boy (black) was also in the open, six toilet, trough urinal "facility". He survived the experience and completed Basic as a competent, cooperative entry infantryman. 1967•As Commander of a working Signal company responsible for mission-critical communications between NATO headquarters, I denied the request by three of a four-member team to transfer the loudly obnoxious, hyper-religious fourth member out of their remote mountaintop station. Months later, that same team earned top honors in the battalion's Annual General Inspection. 1969•the "Iron Triangle", RVN, as Communications Officer for a field artillery battalion, I inherited a dysfunctional Electronics Maintenance team of dedicated ethnic and cultural bigots. I fired the Communications Platoon leader, created a "Field Technican/Captain's driver" position and rotated each team member through driving with me between Fire Support bases and experiencing the realities and critical importance of the team's mission (back in the relative comfort and safety of Brigade base camp). Things soon began running smoothely enough for me to assume additional duties for the battalion.
The point? We each enter our nation's service with our sack of specific experience, ignorance, strengths and prejudice. The first focus of our training is to enlist us as committed members of our group. Understanding, accepting and committing to success in our mission becomes our core individual and group mandate. Leadership (by example) is what brings the individual and the unit on point. The fallback is the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice, applied to all personnel, E-1 to O-10) which codifies prescribed and sanctioned behaviors which may disrupt unit cohesion and mission effectiveness. Unwarranted sexual advances and behavior are specifically addressed. This predates my service, and is in force today. Enough said.

As another Vietnam Vet, I agree with Richard. Totally.
Attitudes and Morals always change and we must adapt to change or perish. Do we want an all volunteer force? If so, DADT has been a flawed concept from day 1. President Clinton grafted a compromise and it is now time to end this program.

Gays will not run from a fight anymore than a straight person. Real men accept people for who they are as they are without judgement.

I was in the navy during the vietnam conflict. There were two gays in our unit, and they were known among us as gays. This fact did not affect their work nor did it affect ours. Gays have been in the military since there was a military. The Romans knew this and so do we. Accept reality. Our military is volunteer. If gays want to serve our country we should allow them the honor of doing so.

Are you people serious? Why would you NOT renew your membership? You realize the only way to change the attitude of the Legion is to be a vocal MEMBER. Don't quit. Encourage like-minded friends to join as well. And be as vocal as you can.

How about this for a compromise? DADT gets repealed in June 2012. All soldiers that are so adamantly against gay people serving with them will have the opportunity to complete their last combat tour under the current policy. Once they return home, they are given the chance to accept a voluntary separation and honorable discharge. Or they can continue to serve under an open policy. This way, by they time we have an open policy, every serviceman will have the opportunity to make his/her own decision on his future. And no one can say that the open policy will have an impact on combat readiness -- because everyone still in the service will have accepted the new policy when they were not in a combat zone. Just a thought.....

I see a lot of statistics flying about here:
40% of this segment of the military saying repeal will hurt morale.
70% of that segment of the military saying repeal now.

How about we have some links to these surveys, so we can see for ourselves if they are worth the paper they were printed on.

DADT works, and works well to keep someone's sexual choices from being a deadly distraction in any tactical situation! A soldier's homosexual decisions are theirs to deal with without involving others in the unit--let's keep it that way!

I'm tired of the threats from the Homosexual crowd taking command of the situation. I served proudly in the USASA and am not homophobic. To tell the truth I don't like their life style and woulld rather live seperately from it. I witnessed that life style when I was18 years old and again when I was 19 stationed in Ft. Devens near Boston. I was approached twice in 10 minutes and propositioned across the street from Boston Commons Park. It must have been the weather because I was even being watched as I was using the urinal in a hotel that we stayed in for a weekend instead of going back to camp. To top it off as we slept in the room awoke and another Homo was sitting on the edge of one of my buddies bed staring. Needless to say he didn't stay around. I spent 3 years in the military and never had any experiences in the military side of it. I spent Three years in the service. As far as I know it was all male. If it was otherwise they shut up and didn't come out in your face. If you want to hold hands on the way to revelry then join the girl scouts. and mind your own business and don't brag and try to force it on others.We all have the same civil rights. No one deserve more than others. I can marry a female, you can two. I can't legally marry a man. niether can you. Same for the women. Accept it and get on with straightening out this political mess that our Gov't is causing.

I entered a post that was rejected as spam. Is it a spam filter or censorship? I supported the AL position and their duty to take a stand on the issue.

This is wrong on so many levels. Starting with the creation of the need to LIE in order to serve the country, and the double standard which the DADT policy creates. We took/take an oath to to be honest and start out new enlistees as liars.

We have lost many talented and patriotic people all because of the fear that someone is going to shag us in the latrine? Do we really want to put gay and lesbian troops in a position where they would be susceptible to a blackmail threat?

One purpose (perhaps the most important one) that the military serves is to protect the rights our Constitution and Bill of Rights guarantees us. None of those rights includes the phrase "except for gay people".

This is NOT any kind of "experiment", it is the simple application of equal rights under the law.

If the DADT is negated, Christian warriors should be provided information, without asking, who homosexuals are. Our grandfathered Christian warriors should be given the option to never be subordinated to or serving with homosexuals. To be subordinated to or serving with homosexuals is offensive to Bible believing Christians.

Our young Christian warriors have little regard for the existing DADT. As time passes and military career options become more of a life style, without the current DADT, Christian warriors will be nonexistent. The military is setting itself up for a “hostile work environment” if DADT is repealed.

24% of our military responded to the recent survey with their faith based answer if DADT is repealed, “immediate separation or planned separation”. What will it take for politicians to understand this impact on readiness?

These are the type of comments that has convinced me to no longer support the American Legion. It is truely sad to watch, supposedly brave military leaders, let their own personal religious beliefs dictate military policy. I guess the American Legion won't be happy until the crusades are back, blacks and women are forced to serve in separate units, you know, the good ole days when those non-christians, non-whites, non-males knew their place. I joined this organization, because I love this country and proudly served it for over 20 years. I guess next time I will be more careful with the company I keep.

With sad regrets,

SBH

If you aren't comfortable having an open homosexual using the latrine or in your billet,...
How do you feel knowing there are probably closet homosexuals already using your latrine or in your barracks room?

Agrre or go back to law prior to DADT.

Why are gay people so important? They are the reason that we have aids and many other types of disease in this country. If they want to have sex with each other let them...But not on my watch. I would feel very vulnerable if I were fighting side by side with a gay person. I feel that they should not be allowed in the armed service but their services could be utilized elsewhere. Even animals don't do the things that gay people do. It is discusting and when Past President Jimmy Carter said on national TV that in the future we will have a gay president of the United States I almost vomited. He is a discrace to the US..

As a Christian myself, I can safely say that Christians are not taught to hate anybody (Christianity teaches us to love and forgive while standing up for the truth). I have 2 nephews who are gay and not by choice but it's the way their genes grew as they matured. I've been a Member of the American Legion for 57 years and will continue on being a member until I go to Heaven. I hope they work to support the DADT

The DADT should stay as it now is. I doubt very seriously if any of those pushing for it's repeal have ever spent any time in a foxhole fighting the enemy. Or for that matter even spent time in a training barracks. Let these sorry politicians play their vote-getting games with something else, and leave the military out of it. Let the military run itself. As far as the results of the survey taken of our servicemen, it should be taken with a grain of salt, considering who ran it, and did the tallying. 'Nuff said!

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.