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Religious Tolerance logo

Gays in the U.S. Military: Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy

2008 - 2012: Dire predictions of
the negative effects of repealing DADT.

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2008 to 2011: Negative predictions of the impact that the repeal of DADT would have on the military from many sources:

Dr. Nathaniel Frank of the Palm Center at the University of California, has written a book titled: "Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America." 3 It was published in 2010-MAR many months before the bill to repeal DADT was passed by Congress. On 2011-DEC, after DADT had been repealed for a few months, he published a report titled "Accountability and DADT: A Framework for Assessing Predictions of Disruption Caused by Openly Gay Military Service." 4 Also during 2011-DEC he wrote an article on the Huffington Post titled: "“Will Defenders of DADT Stand By Their Dire Predictions? 5 The report and article contained many very negative predictions from religious and social conservatives who were fearful that repeal of DADT would severely damage the U.S. Military. Eleven are listed below.

  • Two were by the President of the Center for Military Readiness, the main national group that opposes both the repeal of the DADT policy and allowing women servicemembers to be involved in combat roles.

  • Two were by staff of the Family Research Council, a fundamentalist Christian group that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has said qualifies as a hate group because of their frequent misrepresentation of topics related to homosexuality. 6 The SPLC is the main national organization that monitors hate organizations in the U.S.

  • Most of the rest were by military officers:

The eleven quotes are:

  • 2008: Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness: "[Lifting the ban would lead to] inappropriate passive/aggressive actions common in the homosexual community,... forcible sodomy ... and exotic forms of sexual expression."

  • 2009: James Bowman, Ethics and Public Policy Center: "What if [the proponents of lifting the ban] are wrong? Is there any way to find out without taking a real risk with national security? Are the advocates of gays in the military prepared to say, fiat justitia, ruat caelum ['Let justice be done, though the sky may fall']? And if so, do the rest of us -- the majority of gays and straights alike who would prefer not to take such a risk with our lives, property, and freedom -- have any say in the matter?"

  • 2010: Senator John McCain (R-AZ): "I hope that when we pass this legislation that we will understand that we are doing great damage, and we could possibly and probably -- as the commandant of the Marine Corps said and I’ve been told by literally thousands of members of the military -- harm the battle effectiveness, which is so vital to the support, to the survival of our young men and women in the military."

  • 2010: General James Amos, Commandant, Marine Corps: "When your life hangs on the line, you don’t want anything distracting. ... Mistakes and inattention or distractions cost Marines’ lives. ... Assimilating openly homosexual Marines into the tightly woven fabric of our combat units has strong potential for disruption at the small unit level."

  • 2010: Peter Sprigg, Family Research Council: "If the law is overturned and open homosexuals are welcomed into the military, the number of homosexuals in the armed forces can only increase — leading to a corresponding increase in same-sex sexual assaults."

  • 2011: Frank Gaffney, Jr., Center for Security Policy: "[Lifting the ban] may even prove decisive to the viability of the all-volunteer force. That viability may, in turn, determine our ability to avoid in the years ahead — as we have for the past four decades — a return to conscription to meet our requirements for warriors in those conflicts."

  • 2011: Mackubin Thomas Owens, Naval War College: "The presence of open homosexuals in the close confines of ships or military units opens the possibility that eros -- which unlike philia is sexual, and therefore individual and exclusive -- will be unleashed into the environment. Eros manifests itself as sexual competition, protectiveness, and favoritism, all of which undermine the nonsexual bonding essential to unit cohesion, good order, discipline and morale."

  • 2010: General Carl Mundy, former Commandant, Marine Corps:  "24,000 current members of the armed forces might be lost over and above normal discharge attrition in a one-to-three year period. ... Because these personnel would be completing one or more terms of service, they would, in fact, represent a hemorrhage of mature, skilled losses from the professional ranks. This is an enormous risk to the viability of our armed forces. ... If you vote to [lift the ban,] I believe you will inflict significant damage on the All-Volunteer Force."

  • 2010: General James Amos, Commandant, Marine Corps: "When your life hangs on the line, you don’t want anything distracting. ... Mistakes and inattention or distractions cost Marines' lives."

  • 2010: Elaine Donnelly, Center for Military Readiness: "If this kind of agenda is forced on the Marine Corps, if it’s okay for the Marines, why is it not okay for the local school, the local marriage bureau, ultimately all of civilian life will be affected."

  • 2010: Tony Perkins, Family Research Council: "When you’re in training situations, where you have an individual that has the power, really, of life and death, in some circumstances, over individuals, there can be a lot of coercion. And this can be a very dangerous situation and very intimidating situation. It’s just not healthy for the well-being of the military." 4,5

Not listed above is a statement expressing concern over the repeal of DADT policy by 1,164 retired Flag and General Officers, 51 of which are of four-star rank. It states, in part:

"Our past experience as military leaders leads us to be greatly concerned about the impact of repeal on morale, discipline, unit cohesion, and overall military readiness. We believe that imposing this burden on our men and women in uniform would undermine recruiting and retention, impact leadership at all echelons, have adverse effects of the willingness of parents who lend their sons and daughters to military service, and eventually break the All-Voluntary Force.

As a matter of national security, we urge you to support the 1993 law regarding homosexuals in the military (Section 654, Title 10), and to oppose any legislative, judicial, or administrative effort to repeal or invalidate the law." 7

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Policy analysis by the Center for Military Readiness on dangers of repealing DADT:

The following is extracted from an article by the Center published in 2010-JAN. As of 2012-SEP, it remains -- apparently unchanged -- on the CMR website as their main policy analysis on DADT. Some of their points:

  • Military readiness and effectiveness are more important that the right of LGBs to openly serve in the military.

  • The 1993 bill signed into law by President Clinton is Section 654, Title 10, U.S.C. The policy implemented by that law generally referred to as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

  • The result of repealing DADT would be that "Radical Social Change is Assigned Higher Priority than Military Necessity."

  • Forced intimacy would result in little or no privacy. Servicemembers would be exposed to others who are sexually attracted to them. Tension, hostility, harassment, etc. would build. The result would be a "three-fold increase in misconduct incidents."

  • Professional instructors would promote the LGBT agenda. Servicemembers who disagreed with DADT would be labeled bigots and would be denied promotions. Only "politically correct" servicemembers would be promoted to officer and NCO ranks. Department of Defense schools and child care centers would teach the equivalence of men and women rather than the restriction of each gender to specific roles. This would be eventually extended to regular public schools. Morale would decline, Trust and unit cohesion would be undermined. Chaplains and religious service members would be forced out of the military.

  • The reputation of the military would decline. Recruiting rates would sink. Military culture would be degraded.

  • Retention rates, unit cohesion, the general military culture, and military readiness would all suffer.

  • No benefits would result from the repeal of DADT. 8

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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. Star Parker, "Homosexual behavior publicly condoned but morally unacceptable," Scripps Howard News Service, 2010-DEC-27, at:
  2. "Eric", "Star Parker: Gays in the military are killing the country, ’cause the Bible says so," Pride in Utah, 2010-DEC-27, at:
  3. book cover image Nathaniel Frank, "Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America," St. Martin's Griffin, (2010).   Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store
  4. Nathaniel Frank, "Accountability and DADT: A Framework for Assessing Predictions of Disruption Caused by Openly Gay Military Service," Dropbox Blog, 2011-DEC, at:
  5. Nathaniel Frank, "Will Defenders of DADT Stand By Their Dire Predictions?," Huffington Post, 2011-DEC-21, at:
  6. David Demirbilek, "Southern Poverty Law Center repeats 'hate group' claim about Family Research Council," Daily Caller, 2012-SEP-13, at:
  7. "Consequences of the Proposed New 'LGBT Law' for the Military," Page 7, Center for Military Readiness, 2010-JAN, at:  This is a PDF file.
  8. Ibid, Pages 1 to 7

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Copyright © 2010 to 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2011-JAN-01
Latest update: 2012-SEP-22
Author: B.A. Robinson

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