Pentagon: Hate Sites are fine, Gay ones not so much

pentagon-seal

If you work at the Pentagon, you are more than welcome to peruse the insane ramblings of Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh or the American Family Association. You may not, however, surf pro-LGBT news blogs like  Good as You, BilericoTowleroad and AMERICAblog.

John Aravosis over at AmericaBlog points out that despite the lift on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” at least one of the Pentagon’s safe-surfing Internet filters continues to contain a censorship category called “LGBT.”

“Our site, AMERICAblog, was previously banned for being “LGBT,” but now we’re only banned at least by the Air Force, for being “political” and “activist.”  The Air Force is banning my Web site for being “political” while permitting other Republican “political” Web sites.  Daily Kos is banned as well.  Anyone else smelling a Big Brother constitutional problem with that?”, writes Aravosis.

The ban doesn’t end there.

RT.com reports,”Outserve.org, the website for an organization with 4,000 members and deemed “one of the largest LGBT employee resource groups in the world,” is also inaccessible through the Pentagon.”

Outserve describes itself as working to support “a professional network of LGBT military personnel and create an environment of respect in the military with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity.” Aravosis adds that Outserve has also been an active opponent of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, the ban on openly serving that has only recently been lifted. According to AmericaBlog, the communications director for OutServe-SLDN confirmed through one of their military members that their site is indeed blocked by the Pentagon,” reports the website.

“It’s hard to know if the sleight is arbitrary and capricious, or simply someone at the Pentagon being terribly bad at their job, but the fact remains that the “LGBT” Internet ban has existed since the days of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and the Pentagon was informed of this problem this past summer and has chosen to do nothing about it,” writes  Aravosis.

The military’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, was repealed by the federal government in 2011.

Defense Bill: Be Gay, Get Married, Just Don’t have Sex

Oh to be a gay soldier  in the U.S. military these days.  You can tell anyone you want,  you can hold hands on base, you can read the cool new LGB (Not “T” the military still doesn’t do the “T’s”.) military magazine and you can even get married if you reside in a state that allows such a practice. The one thing you apparently can’t do? Have sex.

No seriously.

According to the Washington Blade, “Lawmakers on Capitol Hill unveiled on Monday an agreement on major defense budget legislation that omits anti-gay provisions found in the House version of the legislation — including language that would have prohibited military chaplains and facilities from being involved in same-sex marriage ceremonies.”

What they didn’t do?

The committee left out “language from the Senate bill that would have repealed Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the long-standing military law classifying consensual sodomy for both gay and straight service members as a crime,” reports the newspaper.

Article 125 reads as follows:

(a) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense. (b) Any person found guilty of sodomy shall be punished as a court-martial may be direct.

We are going to go out on a limb here and say that sex animals isn’t the reason why the conservative fascists over in the house want to keep the provision on the books, but you never know.

The Washington Blade points out, “The Pentagon had asked for repeal of the sodomy ban as part of the Comprehensive Review Working Group report on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” that was issued late last year. The Commission on the 50th Anniversary of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, informally known as the Cox Commission, had also called for an end to the sodomy ban.”

Best guess is that the law is going to sit on the books and collect dust, much like Idaho’s sodomy law, until someone realizes that the 1950’s ended five decades ago.

 

Rick Perry: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Was “Effective”

What is it about the current field of GOP presidential candidates? Either they can’t read the polls, don’t give a fig about what’s fair and just, or they are so broke that appealing to the right wing fascist based of the party is the only way they can wage a campaign?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has become the latest candidate to voice his support for the repealed policy, under which some 13,000  gay and lesbian service members were discharged.

During an interview with “This Week” host Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday, Perry was asked about the repeal of the law earlier this year. CBS reports that Perry played a line right off the facist right wing talking points memo, “A president of the United States changing a policy that was working well and to do it while we were at war in two different theaters, I think it was irresponsible and I truly think that he did it to respond to his political base,” Perry said.”

A CBS News poll taken last month, a full two weeks after the repeal, found that the majority of Republican voters actually SUPPORT gay and lesbians serving openly in the military.

“Perry told Amanpur that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy affecting gay military service members, which was repealed last year, “worked very well,” though he hedged on saying whether or not he would reinstate it as president,” CBS reports

He  then went on to spew the same homophobic rhetoric that led to the policy in the first place….

“When asked if he, as a former member of the Air Force, would be comfortable serving with openly gay men and women, the Texas governor said that was not a question that needs to be asked.

“If an individual in their private life makes a decision about their sexuality from the standpoint of how they’re going to practice it, that’s their business,” Perry said. “That’s the reason ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ was in fact a workable policy and that’s why I would be comfortable with our country going back to that.”

Could someone PLEASE tell these candidates that hetrosexuals have been allowed to openly flaunt their sexuality..um..”private lives” in the military for over 200 years?

Perry isn’t the only GOP candidate that can’t seem to read the polls. Think Progress reports that at least three GOP presidential candidates — Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and Newt Gingrich — have verably promised to reinstate the policy.

Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted last December found that nearly eight in 10 Americans favored allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.

Read the full  CBS article here.

Troop Members To Challenge Defense Of Marriage Act in Court

Gay and lesbian members serving in the armed forces are filing a lawsuit challenging a federal ban on same gender marriages as well as a federal code that defines a spouse as a person of the opposite sex.

The Washington Post reports that “Lawyers plan to sue in federal district court in Boston, the same court that ruled last year that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it interferes with a state’s right to define marriage. That decision is being appealed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit.”

“The suit also challenges provisions of federal code regarding spouses that lawyers said bar gay couples from accessing benefits provided by the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Those benefits include military identification cards, access to bases, recreational programs, spousal support groups and burial rights at national cemeteries. ”

The suit, expected to be filed later today, comes one day after Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced that his committee “will begin debate on legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage (DOMA) on November 3rd. 

According to the Post,”Dozens of legal challenges to DOMA are making their way through federal courts, but gay rights’ legal advocates have said they do not anticipate a Supreme Court decision on the issue until 2013.”

State of the Queer Union: Watch President Obama’s HRC Address

Okay, so the guy hasn’t quite made up his mind about same-gender marriage yet. You’ve still got to admit that there’s been some pretty substantial policy changes in the fight for LGBTQ equality since he took office.

In what maybe his gayest speech ever, the president for the second time in his administration gave a speech at the HRC’s national dinner tonight.  Topics include the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, LGBTQ bullying and dinner with Lady Gaga…

And just for the record, if you are wondering where the rest of the 2012 candidates stand on LGBTQ equality issues here’s a quick look see…


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