Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Eric Alva | Military | News

Congress Holds Hearings on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'


Reports are filtering out about today's hearings before the House Armed Services subcommittee on Military Personnel on the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

Three former servicemembers testified for the Democrats — Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, retired naval intelligence officer Capt. Joan Darrah, and retired Army Maj. Gen. Vance Coleman. Coleman is straight, Alva and Darrah gay. Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, one of two witnesses brought by the Republicans (the other was retired Army Sgt. Maj. Brian Jones) seemed to cause the greatest stir. Below, a clip of Donnelly being questioned by Rep. Patrick Murphy. Donnelly was grilled, chastised, and lambasted, according to The Hill.

Clips of testimony from Subcommittee Chairwoman Susan Davis, Alva, and Darrah,

The Washington Blade reports: "Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Penn.), a former Army private, said he was “insulted” that Donnelly did not believe that service members were 'less professional' than other workers and could not handle gays among their ranks. He disputed the notion that letting gays serve openly would encourage sexual misconduct in the military. 'We're talking about orientation and not misconduct here,' he said...Donnelly recommended that recruiters ask enlistees about their sexual orientation when they enter service so that they can be removed if they are gay. Donnelly maintained that nothing in the law prevents recruiters from asking questions about sexual orientation. Donnelly said straight service members would be exposed to harassment if gay service members were allowed to serve openly. She frequently cited a 1974 incident in a letter she says she received from Cynthia Yost, a former Army medical corpsman. Yost said a group of black lesbians sexually assaulted her, but she didn't report the incident to keep her record clean."

Chris Johnson at the Human Rights Campaign who liveblogged the event, describes the scene during Donnelly's testimony:

"Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness is speaking. There is an audible burst of laughter when Donnelly throws in a 'San Francisco left' phrase just for dramatic effect. Another guffaw from the crowd when Donnelly expresses her concern over gay men sharing a 'cramped submarine' with other soldiers....There is on older lady in the room who just turned around to the room brimming with youngsters and issued the warning, 'Show respect while she speaks!' The room keeps laughing at Donnelly's outrageous statements. The older woman is obviously losing this fight. 'They're just disrespectful people!' she hisses."

Incidentally, some are questioning Donnelly's qualifications to testify. That's a shocker.

Eric Alva wrote a piece for the Huffington Post in conjunction with his testimony.

And in related news, Idaho Senator Larry Craig told CNS News that he supported the policy: "Current policy has served us well. I think we ought to sustain it. I see no evidence that it should be repealed." And why wouldn't he? It's worked perfectly well for Craig and his wife.

Clips of testimony from Subcommittee Chairwoman Susan Davis, Alva, and Darrah,

Opening remarks from Subcommittee Chairwoman Susan Davis

Retired Naval intelligence officer Captain Joan E. Darrah and wounded Iraq war veteran Staff Sergeant Eric Alva, USMC.

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  1. Congressman Murphy did a great job managing the Donnely person. I do wish he had mentioned that the majority of sexual scandals in the military are of a HETEROSEXUAL nature (Tailhook, anyone??)

    By using the Yost argument, Donnely is essentially caling for sexual segregation of the military.

    Posted by: MikeInSanJose | Jul 23, 2008 8:33:21 PM

  2. That picture of the despicable Donnelly staring at Alva reminds me yet again of the classic "V" TV science fiction series. She totally looks like she could distend her jaw and swallow him whole like one of the other giant reptiles disguised as humans in the ***series as in this clip:

    But the ease with which she is mocked should not lead us to underestimate her. She is a TIRELESS and ruthless opponent not just of out gays in the military but women generally. One of the reasons that DADT became law was that she and others organized a huge avalanche of homohating letters, e-mail, etc., upon Congress while professional gays fiddled. They will certainly repeat their efforts [she's been screaming for months about how Obama will betray red-blooded, flag waving, God fearing straight American soldiers by letting in the Sodomites.

    So e-mail your Congressperson NOW and demand the repeal of DADT!

    Michael Bedwell

    [***"V" starred hot Marc Singer who played the roommate of my friend Leonard in the [unfortunately bad] TV movie NBC made about his life.]

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Jul 23, 2008 8:58:02 PM

  3. Archived webcast of the hearing:

    Posted by: Steve | Jul 24, 2008 1:06:45 AM

  4. Well, i know many LGBT. espcially bisexual single, bisexual couples and bi curious at . can view the bisexual style photos. hot but also honest girl and cute.

    Posted by: marissa | Jul 24, 2008 3:39:14 AM

  5. The issue I have with a possible repeal of DADT is that it would be all the more pressing for a federal anti-discrimination law that includes sexual orientation because you are a government employee if you are in the military. Letting us serve openly in the military but still not having a law on the books that protect us from being fired from a federal job for being gay seems contradictory... no?

    Posted by: Joel | Jul 24, 2008 6:04:14 AM

  6. I can't wait until this law is repealed. I love the comment by Christopher Shays R-Conn.

    "It's an outrage that you even have to be here to account for your service," says Connecticut Congressman Christopher Shays (R-Conn) to Capt. Darrah, one of the hearing witnesses. Congressman Shays says that the issue of whether allowing gays and lesbians in the military will present additional disciplinary problems is a "scurrilous" argument and that "the issue is that if someone performs perfectly well, but they have a different orientation, should they be allowed to serve in the military?"

    "I think the DADT policy is unpatriotic, it's unproductive, and in fact, it's absolutely cruel," he declares.

    Shays shares a personal story of seeing pictures of his friend and former Congressman Jim Kolbe, who is openly gay, from his days in the military. Shays tells the panel, "For nothing else, I'm here for Jim Kolbe." Those types of statements really leave a lasting impression.

    Posted by: Matt | Jul 24, 2008 9:14:52 AM

  7. I thought Clinton signed an executive order prohibiting job discrimation on the basis of sexual orientation in civilian federal jobs, didn't he?

    I'm reasonably sure that a repeal of DADT would include extension of that to military federal jobs.

    What we're missing is a federal law for adding sexual orientation to non-government non-discrimination laws, unless I'm mistaken.

    Posted by: Dan E | Jul 24, 2008 9:15:02 AM

  8. It doesn't hurt that the military is having a hard time recruiting right now. I should think that practical arguments alone will win the day.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 24, 2008 11:43:08 AM

  9. Look at the Republicans' guest witnesses at the hearings, and then look at the Democrats' guest witnesses; then, tell me again why so many gay people are not voting for the Democratic Party's candidate.

    Roberts, Alito, Scalia & Thomas & Sodomy

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jul 24, 2008 11:55:30 AM

  10. DADT is a law written by Democrats, a law they voted for in overwhelming numbers, and a law signed by a Democratic (sic) President, Bill Clinton. The Republicans support it because they're bigots too but the responsibility for this draconian injustice rests squarely with the Democratic Party. (Bill Clinton is the same Dixiecrat right-winger who boasted on bigoted Southern religious radio stations about his signature on DOMA, the anti-samesex marriage law.)

    Our objection to DADT ought to be on the basis that it’s a bigoted law used to harm GLBT GI’s. We oppose DADT because it a bigot law, not because repeal will make the military more efficient at killing Iraqis and stealing their oil. The questions aren’t linked and neither has anything to do with capturing the mass murderer Bin Laden. The vast bulk of US military activity is centered on acquiring hegemony over the regions oil resources not on capturing Bin Laden.

    Just as we support the GI’s civil rights we should support the antiwar movement and let everyone know that we think they should stay out of the armed forces. We should be very clear that we join with our allies in the antiwar movement to demand that all US military, security and mercenary forces be withdrawn from the region and that the US cut the purse strings that finance the apartheid policies used against Palestinians. We need allies to win our fight but we won’t get them if we’re seen supporting the Clinton/Bush genocide in Iraq by encouraging enlistment or re-upping.

    Barak Obama only supports repeal DADT because he plans on continuing the war there indefinitely and he'll need cannon fodder. He has the same perspective on Iraq as Bush, the Clintons and McCain. That’s why it's unprincipled to support him.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Jul 24, 2008 12:06:14 PM

  11. President Clinton did issue an Executive Order banning discrimination against gay civilian federal employees [reversing a half-century old outright ban signed by Repug Pres. Eishenhower], but last I heard the Bush Reich was ignoring it.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Jul 24, 2008 1:02:50 PM

  12. Though I have little enthusiasm for the military I found myself moved by the individuals that spoke to repeal DADT. I know the military is not for me but the LGBT community would move a big step forward if we can sucessfully repeal DADT and allow military personnel to serve openly - however that may be.

    @ BILL PERDUE: I agreed with many things you said until your absurd comments about Barack Obama and the war. If you honestly think Obama has the same perspective on the Iraq war as Bush you are sorely mistaken or mislead.

    Posted by: Kurt from Milwaukee | Jul 24, 2008 2:28:52 PM

  13. DADT is under the UCMJ. Therefore it has nothing to do with the law preventing discrimination in the workplace...

    Posted by: Cody | Jul 25, 2008 12:59:36 PM

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