The U.S. government’s motion for a stay of U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips’s ruling in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States was argued today and the judge should issue a ruling by tomorrow.  The Obama administration’s gyrations in at once defending the rightness of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as a legal matter in the Log Cabin Republicans lawsuit while opposing it for its wrongness as a legislative matter in Congress and in the press has been a head-spinning thing to witness.  It almost betters Bill Clinton’s attempt to evade liability in the Paula Jones lawsuit by stating under oath that “it depends on what the meaning of is is.”

The argument made in the motion filed today is that Judge Phillip’s order finding DADT unconstitutional would undermine our national security and create terrible disorder in the military: “An Immediate Worldwide Injunction Will Irreparably Harm the Public Interest In A Strong And Effective Military.”  Imagine that, a few out homosexuals in uniform will bring our national security to its knees (pun intended).  It reminds me of what so many lesbian and gay people have been told for ever and ever: “Don’t tell your mother/father/sister/grandmother/etc it will kill him/her.”  Who knew we were that powerful???

Here’s how the argument gets spelled out in their brief:

Thousands of military personnel have enforced the DADT statutory policy for many years. Thus, the end of DADT will require that these personnel receive training and instruction in a number of areas, including:

(i) how the policy has changed; (ii) why the policy has changed; (iii) how the change in this policy affects other existing policies; (iv) appropriate treatment of gay and lesbian servicemembers who reveal their sexual orientation; (v) appropriate treatment of servicemembers who object to serving with servicemembers they know to be gay or lesbian; and (vi) principles to consider when handling other issues that may arise after the elimination of the DADT statute.

What it boils down to is really this: it will take time to accommodate and train the homophobes in the military and thus the constitutional rights of lesbians and gays currently in the military, or those who wish to serve in the military, must wait until we’ve dealt with the homophobia endemic to this institution.

Sound familiar?  In 1954 when the Supreme Court found in Brown v. Board of Education that racially segregated schools violated the Constitution’s Equal Protection clause, it didn’t order the immediate desegregation of public schools, but instead ordered that the states end segregation “with all deliberate speed.”  Well, almost 60 years later we’re still working on it.

Accommodation of bigots as a justification for not implementing the Constitution’s guarantee of equal rights under the law was a bad idea in 1954 and its a bad idea today.


12 comments

  1. You’re comparing what is right for our national security and the US Military to what is right for “your mother/father/sister/grandmother/etc”?

    And you’re in law school at Columbia?

  2. Modesty and trust have no place in our modern military. Why should our fighting men and women of any sexual orientation expect personal privacy? Common barracks, showers and sleeping arrangements for all is not too much to ask.

    Personal attachments among the ranks are to be expected. There is no cause for concern here; absolute equality of opportunity will always be maintained between all men and women regardless of individual attachments. Whether mentoring, work assignments, detail assignments, liberty allocations and or promotional opportunities, strictly unbiased, fair and objective decisions will only be enhanced by complete integration.

    Especially in combat, where there is absolutely no privacy, will the benefits of integration be especially visible. The young, scared, lonely and emotionally starved single person will benefit greatly from the presence of the devoted couple with whom he may be assigned. He can rest assured that his welfare is uppermost in the minds of his team. The couple will of course sacrifice themselves and their relationship on the single’s behalf.

    When the single Sergeant assigns one of the happy couple to an action that will certainly lead to death, there will be no recriminations or doubt aroused on the part of the survivor. Nor will there be when it is one of the happy couple that is senior. All can rest assured and be comforted that strictly tactical decisions will ensue. The single need not fear that he will be assigned an unfairly.

    Yes, the bonds of trust so essential between the young, emotionally excitable young folks in combat will necessarily be enhanced. That some will be able to enjoy the benefits of sexual congress and/or emotional attachments while others are denied the same is of no consequence.

    It’s simply too damn bad that straights are born that way; they’ll just have to get over it.

  3. “Well, almost 60 years later we’re still working on it.”

    This reveals a mindset held on your part with which I abjectly disagree, and which brings me to dismiss the entirety of your post as being worthless left pablum–that any accuracy or insight on your part is accidental and inadvertent.

  4. “Well, almost 60 years later we’re still working on it.”

    Care to name a school/state/region that still rejects integration? Unverifiable claims like that hurts your credibility.

    “Accommodate and train the homophobes in the military”

    Ain’t many down here in the ranks bubba, sorry to burst your bubble, they mostly all exist in the Administration you probably voted for.

    I spent 28 years in the military, including 6 years living in barracks and as long as the gay guys were no more obvious than us straight guys smuggling chicks into our rooms; no problem.

    The only problems existed when their homosexuality crashed with other norms of military life, fraternization, etc. There’s always been an unwritten rule in the military; be discreet in your indiscretions, never do anything in the shadow of the flagpole that’ll get you unwanted attention.

    A key point to remember is that the military is always going to be a conservative organization. That’s actually a survival trait because we’re always suspicious of any new ideas that might kill us quicker than the old ideas.

    I only mention that because anyone who joins the military must, must conform to that conservatism, straights, gays, and guys who love sheep. Failure to recognize and embrace that conservatism simply makes one incompatible with the military culture, regardless of their orientation.

    Military life can be rough, base and incredibly coarse in combat. Humor in the military is equally rude and coarse. If you are going to be gay and a G.I., you are going to be a target for that humor, but so is the red headed guy, the funny sounding guy from New York and EVERY guy from Seattle.

    The military is not the place for those who are unwilling or unable to recognize those truths it and live with it. I’ve seen straight guys (and maybe some gay guys? Who knows) who couldn’t handle the life style. They got out, as they should have.

    I will go on record that I will not bend one inch to accommodate anyone’s life style in order to allow him or her to serve in the military. The military is not a laboratory for social experimentation.

    The U.S. military does two things better than any other military in the world. We break things and kill people. To do that we need rough people ready to dole out violence on anyone they are pointed at. Straight sissies and gay tinkerbells probably won’t like it.

  5. I think the reason that the Supreme Court made its order in Brown the way it did was that it would be chaotic for schools to have to be merged mid year.

    I’d dispute the allegation that “we’re still working on it”: no school is de jure segregated now. Schools can be de facto segregated due to the people who happen to be in the area, but what Brown prohibits is segregation under color of law. It does not mandate that schools be mixed, merely that governmental entities cannot have a policy of separation based on race.

    Whether or not “bussing” is desirable is a political question, in my view, since it is a question with a normative answer – is it better for children to be schooled close to home or in a multiethnic environment?

    However, returning to today, there is no “school year” in the armed forces, and very few accommodations need to be made. The simplest way to deal with it is to adopt a blanket no-sex-in-barracks rule, and make anyone who wants to do “it” either do it on leave or in private areas. Since no substantial accommodations need to be made, the order should be immediate.

  6. “The simplest way to deal with it is to adopt a blanket no-sex-in-barracks rule”

    The first rule that any good leader of men learns is never issue an order that can’t be enforced. I can assure that no one is ever going to be folish enough to issue that particular order!

  7. “Accommodating homophobes…”

    So easy to simply brand people homophobes rather than actually look to see if there is an issue that needs to be addressed.

    Suppose DADT is repealed tomorrow. What happens then? Remember DADT was designed to work around UCMJ (Universal Code of Military Justice) statutes that ban sodomy and REQUIRE any allegation of such to be pursued and investigated.

    So, technically, if DADT is repealed and someone tells then they have to be investigated and given a dishonorable discharge per the law.

  8. Accommodating homophobes today http://bit.ly/9tw2Rj is as impermissible as accommodating racial bigots was in 1954 #odnet10

  9. RT @paulcadario: Accommodating homophobes today http://bit.ly/9tw2Rj is as impermissible as accommodating racial bigots was in 1954 #odnet10

  10. US: The Government's Motion to Stay Judge's DADT Ruling Sounds Pretty Familiar: Remember "All Deliberate Speed"? http://bit.ly/d33ukY

  11. The Return of Monopolies: Professor Tim Wu Warns About Most Communications Technology Being Controlled by a Few – http://bit.ly/at8yz1

  12. RT @AlTw09: The Return of Monopolies: Professor Tim Wu Warns About Most Communications Technology Being Controlled by a Few – http://bit.ly/at8yz1

Add a comment


Comments are subject to moderation and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of
Columbia Law School or Columbia University.

FEATURED POSTS

CATEGORY CLOUD

"Homeland" Security Abortion Rights Activism Adoption adultery Advocacy Affordable Care Act Alien Tort Claims Act Amicus Brief Asylum Bankruptcy BDS Bullying Census Politics Children Citizenship Civil Unions Clinic Columbia Law School Compulsory Marriage Condoms Contraception Contraception Mandate Cordoba House Criminal Law Cures for Homosexuality Defense of Marriage Act Disability Rights Discrimination Divorce Domestic Partnership Domestic Violence Domestic Workers Don't Ask Don't Tell Earth Day Economic Justice Education Egypt Elections Employment Discrimination ENDA Estate Planning Events Family Law Fellowships femininity Feminism Free Speech Gender and Technology Gender Identity Discrimination Gendering the Economy Gender Justice GSL Online Haiti Hate Crimes Health Care Hilary Clinton Hillary Clinton HIV HIV Discrimination Hobby Lobby Homelessness Homophobia Housing Human Rights Identity Politics Illegitimacy (sic) Immigration Reform In-ing Incest India International Law Intersectional Feminism Islamophobia Israel Jobs Justice Sotomayor King & Spalding Labor Trafficking Land Reform Law School Legal Profession Legal Scholarship Lesbian & Gay Parenting LGBT Parenting Marital Status Discrimination Marriage Marriage Equality Masculinity Medicaid Michelle Obama Migration Military National Security Obama Administration Obama Appointments Obergefell Outing OWS Palestine Parenting Pinkwashing Policing Politics of the Veil Polyamory Popular Culture Pornograpy Pregnancy Presidential Politics Prisons Privacy Products Liability Profanity Prop 8 Prosecutorial Discretion Publications Public Rights/Private Conscience Public Rights/Private Conscience Project Queer Theory Queer vs. Gay Rights Race and Racism Racial Stereotyping Rape Religion Religious Accommodation Religious Exemption Religious Exemptions Religious Freedom Restoration Act Religious Fundamentalism Reproductive Rights Reproductive Technology RFRA Romania Rwanda Sartorial Commentary Schools Sex Discrimination Sex Education Sex Stereotyping Sexting Sex Trafficking Sexual Assault Sexual Duplicity Sexual Harassment Sexual Health Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic Sexual Orientation Discrimination Sex Work Silencing of voices SMUG Sodomy Law Reform Solidarity Sports Supreme Court Surrogacy Technology Title IX Trafficking Transgender Uganda Uncategorized Violence Women and Poverty Women of Color Work Zimbabwe

Academic Calendar  |  Resources for Employers  |  Campus Map & Directory  |  Columbia University  |  Jobs at Columbia  |  Contact Us

© Copyright 2009, Columbia Law School. For questions or comments, please contact the webmaster.