Explicit Anti-Discrimination Protections Needed for Gays in Military

An excellent piece from Equality Matters' Kerry Eleveld on life after 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell', and how the military is refusing to acknowledge a need for explicit anti-discrimination protections for gay and lesbian service members:

Dadt President Barack Obama and Defense Department officials are preparing to provide lesbian and gay service members the space to serve openly without risking expulsion while simultaneously affording them absolutely no legally enforceable anti-discrimination protections once they are visible.

Sure, they may not be at risk for being discharged after implementation, but they will have no means of sustainable legal recourse if they are discriminated against in any other way (or if the political environment shifts) on the basis of their sexual orientation.

Many of you may recall, as Eleveld notes, that "the nondiscrimination provision was bartered away in an effort to get more votes" for DADT repeal.

She adds:

President Obama could make all this go away with an executive order that categorically prohibits discrimination against gay service members. When I asked a White House spokesperson why the president would not issue that mandate, he said the DOD had developed "clear policy guidance" on the matter.

This appears to be yet one more issue we're going to have to make a whole lot of noise about.

DADT Discharges May End, But Discrimination Might Not [equality matters]

In related news, the four out gay members of Congress, with Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) are calling on the Pentagon to restore the benefits earned by military personnel who were discharged under 'DADT'.

Congresswoman Moore said, “Even after we have ceremoniously repealed ‘Don’t’ Ask, Don’t Tell’ we know there are still consequences. For some gays and lesbians the policy might as well have been – don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t provide veterans benefits they earned. We need to get rid of that silent part because we can’t leave anyone behind as our nation moves forward.

Congressman Frank said, “While we cannot completely undo the injustice that has been done to gay and lesbian service members, we can at least diminish the harm they suffered by preserving the benefits they earned.”

Baldwin Congresswoman Baldwin said, “It’s time to right a grievous wrong and fully recognize the military service of gay and lesbian Americans discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  One way of recognizing their service is to allow them the benefits they rightly earned.  We cannot undo the injustice these former servicemembers have already suffered, but we can begin to serve them as honorably as they served our country.”

Congressman Polis said, “All the men and women who wear the uniform of this country deserve not only our deepest respect, but also our unwavering support regardless of whether they are straight or gay.  Repealing DADT was an incredible victory for our nation and strengthens our armed forces, but the fight is not yet entirely over. As we fully implement the repeal of DADT, we must take action to ensure fair treatment for the many soldiers who, despite bravely serving our country, were discharged under this policy. They have earned it.”

Congressman Cicilline said, “While the discriminatory DADT policy has been repealed, there are still soldiers who may suffer from lack of benefits due to a former dishonorable discharge.  The brave men and women defending our country abroad put their lives on the line so that we at home do not have to. These courageous servicemen and women deserve the benefits they rightly earned.”


  1. AlphaA says

    Don’t need quotas. Let us show them with our talents, not our quotas. If we want acceptance, we have to demonstrate the value, and not deal with the “Soft bigotry of low expectations.” I wouldn’t want anyone to think I did well because of quotas.

  2. says

    As someone in the Service, I (speaking only for myself) don’t think it’s necessary to have a non-discrimination policy for homosexuality. Most everything that could happen is already covered under other Army regulations and I feel I have plenty of recourse if anyone were to make an issue of my sexuality. In fact, having sexual preference spelled out, I feel, would only segregate me in a way I currently am not–it would make unnecessarily explicit things that are currently not. Before we start fretting about the icing on this cake, we should probably stop to remember that our “T” members of LBGT service members are still completely left behind.

  3. Steven says

    I too am in the Reserves (Navy). I assure you that equal opportunity is taken very seriously. EEO training,for all its admirable ideals,when given in formal training,always had “that guy” who would say after-wards with a raised eyebrow :”except for gay people”…and everyone would nod in that knowing silent agreement that DADT was patently absurd and contrary to what we were just told.

  4. Steven says

    I failed to iterate that I also agree with MILO. Discrimination is also not tolerated in the service. Does it happen? Yes, very infrequently. We live in an imperfect world, with imperfect people, and imperfect institutions. The Pentagon “refused” to see the need for “explicit protections” Really? It’s because they have discrimination covered under existing policy. Seems to me “Equality Matters” has a case of refusing to have “Yes” as an answer.

  5. says

    The Israel military has had this protection for decades. A straight soldier harassing a gay one – or one perceived to be gay – is court martialed.

    Remember that there has been at least one case of fatal fag-bashing in the military in the last ten years where the victim was only perceived to be queer, and he wasn’t gay. He just didn’t meet some idiot’s macho expectations.

  6. AlphaA says


    Discrimination is already covered by many other rules/laws. “Explicit protections” are quotas. There is no way to explicitly protect against discrimination except to statistically protect people through quotas. Saying “we don’t discriminate against gay people” is pretty pointless if everyone is discriminating against gay people. This continues to be a problem with women and african americans in the military. There are quotas, so people assume they got where they are because of the quotas. If you don’t believe me, go take a look at Professor Fleming’s lawsuit at the Naval Academy. Admissions was using quotas to explicitly protect against discrimination.

    We need a culture that implicitly won’t allow descrimination. More rules just add to the mess. Work on building a culture where this isn’t tolerated, instead of creating explicit mandates and fear that gays or lesbians will “pull the gay card.” Explicit requirements create fear in the leaders, and makes them concerned that the gay person will file a lawsuit, so the gay people treated differently.

    Yes…. Quotas, I read the article. Explain “explicit protections” without quotas, and how they are verified and validated without quotas to ensure statistical equality.

  7. BobN says

    “Explicit protections” are quotas.

    Are you saying that there are quotas for Jews? Catholics? Blacks? Hispanics? Descendants of Poles? Servicemen of Hungarian extraction?

    There is no logical reason for sexual orientation to be treated differently than religion or race or national origin. IF the special protections THOSE groups have are rescinded and everyone has to rely on the same rules and regs, that’s fine. But that’s not going to happen, so gay people should be equally protected with equal policies.

  8. AlphaA says

    BOBN, Don’t confuse religion and race. There ARE quotas for race, there are not quotas for religion, although in the Air Force some wonder if being a good Christian is required for promotion. See the problems with USAFA.

    I think quotas are a mistake. They lead to low expectations and differentiation instead of inclusion.

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