Ask, tell, but still be a second class citizen.
It seems the country is poised on the precipice of overturning the DADT legislation and allowing openly gay people to stop denying who they are and serve without fear of discrimination. This is pretty much a non-event to a lot of people in the military. I have served at quite a few places with people who are gay, and really, most people know, or suspect; very few care. We are surprisingly tolerant of people in the military, contrary to the Neanderthal impression many people have of us.
I had the opportunity to attend a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell brief that was supposed to “feel out” the troops and garner our opinions and such and had really high hopes that I would learn something about coming policy shifts. I should have known better. It seemed that no one wanted to ask any meaningful questions, we got the “I’m against it because of my religion, will I be able to not serve with one of dem gay boys?” morons; to which my thought was “You’re serving with them now asshole, what about Jesus’s words on acceptance and not judging?” Then we got “Will people be offered the opportunity to end their enlistment since they didn’t sign on for this?” ; My opinion is that you signed on to serve, not serve with only people you like, so shut the fuck up, I can’t get out because I have to serve with a dumbass like you, so you can serve with gays and lesbians.
My question was this: “Since there is already a pretty big disparity in the housing allowances for single and married members, and several states are right now preparing to recognize gay civil unions and marriages, how is the military going to treat members who are married in one of those states in regards to family separation pay, housing allowances, and relocation costs?” I was thrilled to be allowed to ask this question, because in my pie in the sky idealism, I thought the military would do the right thing by these people; unfortunately, the answer was basically that there is a Federal Defense of Marriage act, which would allow the Military to not treat these people as married, and thus allow them to get screwed out of thousands of dollars a year. YAY Government!
Unfortunately, we ran out of time answering questions from bigoted assholes before I could ask my second question, so I had to catch the presenters afterward to find out this: “We base our harassment claims on the perception of the person who is offended. How are we going to protect the religious person’s freedom to express their religious beliefs under the First Amendment, while still avoiding a hostile workplace for someone who may be offended by being told their lifestyle is a sin or one that is unnatural to God? The answer was a very non-committal “well, uh, we have uh, rules and regs in effect about harassment already, so, uh, we’ll have to follow and see how they go.”
I was totally underwhelmed.