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Religious Tolerance logo

Federal court finds "Don't ask, don't tell" policy unconstitutional

Would heterosexuals refuse to enlist/reenlist
if lesbians, gays & bisexuals could freely serve?

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Enlistment/reenlistment of heterosexuals: a possible weakness of the case:

A judge can only make rulings based upon the evidence that has been presented at trial. She must balance the evidence against the requirements of the U.S. Constitution and prior judicial rulings. The Department of Justice -- the defendant in this case -- elected to present information based only on the law itself and not on any findings by experts.

Fundamentalist and other evangelical Christians are over represented in the Army. Because of their faith groups' teaching on the nature of homosexuality and bisexuality, many conservative Christian servicemembers may show considerable resistance towards the abolition of the DADT policy.

Nobody appears to have discussed during the trial some major objections raised by many religious and social conservatives:

  • That many potential servicemembers may decide to not enlist if lesbians, gays & bisexuals can freely serve.

  • That many parents may not allow their children to enter a "gay" military.

  • That many existing heterosexual servicemembers might refuse to rein list in the military when their tours of service expire.

If these factors exist to a significant degree, then overall recruitment could suffer. This would have a direct adverse bearing on military readiness.

Mychal Massie, commented in the fundamentalist Christian news source World Net Daily:

"A reader who is in a position to know told me that the 'last survey among military folks [revealed] that 25 percent won't re-up if this happens. This means that to allow [the] 2 percent of those out there who choose this lifestyle into the military, we'd lose 25 percent of the experienced military folks who have morals'." 1

Obviously, a drop of 25% in recruitment would severely damage the military's readiness. If this is true, then this fact should have been presented at trial. Apparently, it was not discussed. It appears to be a major oversight.

Massie's article is obviously highly biased. It reflects the belief of many religious and social conservatives shown in bold below:

  • Only 2% of adults are homosexuals. (This contrasts with a claim of 10% made by some lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) groups, and a more generally accepted value of 5%.)

  • The percentage of homosexuals in the military is the same as in the general population. (Because of DADT, lesbians, gays and bisexuals are required to remain in hiding. Thus, there is no way to verify this data.)

  • Bisexuals either do not exist or are miniscule in numbers. (They total perhaps 3% of the population.)

  • Adults choose their sexual orientation, (The vast majority of human sexuality researchers, therapists, religious liberals, secularists, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons and transsexuals (LGBT) and others firmly believe that a person's orientation is discovered not chosen, and that it is fixed in adulthood, and is not changeable.)

  • Persons who exhibit homophobia have morals. (Persons who reject homophobia also have morals; it is just based on a different set of beliefs and reaches opposite conclusions).

"Media Matters for America" investigated the possibility of a 25% reenlistment loss and found that it cannot be supported by experience in other countries. 2

They cited a 2003 article in the U.S. Army War College Quarterly written by Aaron Belkin. 3 He is a professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara and a specialist in sexuality in the military. He described a study by the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military which examined the impact of allowing lesbians and gays to serve openly in the military in the United Kingdom, Israel, Canada, and Australia. They found:

"Not a single one of the 104 experts interviewed believed that the Australian, Canadian, Israeli, or British decisions to lift their gay bans undermined military performance, readiness, or cohesion, led to increased difficulties in recruiting or retention, or increased the rate of HIV infection among the troops. ... To prepare the case studies, every identifiable pro-gay and anti-gay expert on the policy change in each country was interviewed, including officers and enlisted personnel, ministry representatives, academics, veterans, politicians, and nongovernmental observers. During each interview, experts were asked to recommend additional contacts, all of whom were contacted."

Belkin described the experience of the Canadian and UK militaries where the majority of servicemembers said that they would refuse to work beside a gay person. However when the government changed the regulations to allow gays to openly serve, significant opposition failed to materialize.

However, both Canada and the UK have a much lower percentage of fundamentalist and other evangelical Christians in their populations compared to the U.S. If the U.S. military were to allow gays and bisexuals to openly serve, there may be more resistance than found in Canada or the UK because of the larger number of religious conservatives.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Mychal Massie, "Is cross-dressing in fatigues next?," World Net Daily, 2010-FEB-09, at:
  2. Media Matters, "WND pushes dubious claim that 25 percent of military would quit if DADT repealed," 2010-FEB-10, at:
  3. Unfortunately, this report is no longer online. In view of its importance, its absence seems strange.

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Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality & Bisexuality > Challenges > DADT > Lawsuit > here

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Copyright © 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2010-SEP-16
Latest update: 2010-SEP-16
Author: B.A. Robinson

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