DADT: the Mormon versus Military milieu
So DADT is gone. Let’s take a roll call of the Mormon senators and their votes for the repeal:
Reid (D-NV) -Yea
Bennett (R-UT) – Nay
Crapo (R-ID) – Nay
Hatch (R-UT) – (Didn’t vote)
(Did I forget anyone?)
Some have noted that before DADT, you couldn’t get kicked out of the military unless you engaged in homosexual acts. During DADT, you could kicked for being gay without engaging in homosexual acts, which was more discriminatory than before the law. Others have noted that DADT had its own repeal built into it because once gays were known to have been in the military without any dysfunction, it wouldn’t make sense for them to not be allowed to be “open” about it.
There’s an extent to which the Church can support the repeal of DADT in the same way that it supported the nondiscrimination ordinances in Salt Lake City. Since DADT was a question of discrimination against even those who don’t act on their attractions, the Church can offer support up the point of removing this discrimination. But nondiscrimination in housing and employment (in this case military housing and enlistment) basically amounts to a green light for same-sex cohabitation. Thus, the Church can’t support the repeal all the way…although it did support the SLC ordinances, so hmmmm….
In any event, I wouldn’t say that the Church has a DADT milieu. It’s more like do-ask-and-do-tell-your-bishop, which has its own sets of issues.
In the good old days, homosexuality in the military was an issue, not so much for morality but because of security. We figured that foreign intelligence services would be able to blackmail homosexuals. Therefore, we thought that homosexuals did not qualify for security clearances.
Mind you, it is not too long ago that you could go to jail for being homosexual in every western country as well as in the eastern block.
When gays came out of he closet, in part, for political reasons all of that became quickly an anachronism. So it is rapidly becoming more and more difficult for us to imagine the mindset of the past.
Very true — and a good point about starting from common ground. do you have any info on the church’s position (if any) on DADT?
Ironically, it’s the bans that create the security issue, by and large.
I have in the back of my head an idea that there might have been an incident many years ago involving the CIA or perhaps MI-6 where a closeted employee was blackmailed. But I might just be thinking of a John le Carre novel.
Shelby: This is probably neither here nor there as replies go, but to get a sense of the security mindset, or maybe just a sense of the culture that produced it, if you ever happen upon Max Lerner’s “The Unfinished Country” at a second-hand bookstore or table around town, pick it up. He wrote a few hundred columns for the New York Post back in the day (
40-5060 years ago at this point?) that spend more time on the issue than I would’ve thought seemly for the era. Long story short, it’s a plot line and concern that’s been in the back of our collective heads since way back before le Carr ever riffed on the theme.
Regarding past history, one early example comes to mind: the Eulenberg Affair in the early 1900s, a huge scandal in Kaiser Wilhelm’s Germany that included cross-dressing, screaming headlines, “outings” and threats of outing, and several suicides. I can’t recall all the details, but I think a case could be made that the scandal went beyond what we now call homophobia and directly foreshadowed the notion of queers as security risks.
It was also useful to the British, fostering the whole “dirty/perverted Huns” thing that to this day shows up in the occasional comedic film. (Never mind the prevalence of homosex in British public schools or in the Royal Navy. Hypocrisy has always been near the heart of it.)