DADT / 60 Minutes

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    Jun 30, 2008 7:42 PM GMT

    60 Minutes on Don't Ask, Don't Tell
    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    Don't Ask, Don't Tell

    Under the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, gays can serve as long as they keep their sexuality hidden. Since the rule came into effect 15 years ago, some 12,000 military men and women have been forced out. But recently the discharges of gay soldiers have dropped dramatically. Lesley Stahl reports on the still controversial policy and growing evidence that some commanders could care less about sexual orientation.

    http://60minutes.yahoo.com/segment/185/don39t_ask_don39t_tell
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    Jun 30, 2008 10:35 PM GMT
    Darren Manzella, the out soldier profiled in this 60 Minutes story was discharged on June 10th, nearly two years after he came out to his commanding officer and after he'd been redeployed to Iraq.

    Guess this policy conveniently allows the military to keep people they need until they decide they don't need them anymore, then discharge them without benefits.
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    Jul 01, 2008 12:39 AM GMT
    To me, this is an interesting issue. I won't spend my pink dollars in companies or countries where gay people are not welcome. For the life of me, I can't see why people would choose to put their life on the line for an organisation that hates them. Is it really about patriotism? Are non-military jobs that hard to come by? A dishonorable dischange can't be such a good reference for a future job!
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    Jul 01, 2008 12:41 AM GMT
    Global_Citizen saidDarren Manzella, the out soldier profiled in this 60 Minutes story was discharged on June 10th, nearly two years after he came out to his commanding officer and after he'd been redeployed to Iraq.

    Guess this policy conveniently allows the military to keep people they need until they decide they don't need them anymore, then discharge them without benefits.


    If I'm not mistaken he was given an honorable discharge with benefits intact.

    It is very common from what I hear from friends who are in the services for commanders turn a blind eye to those who are openly gay in their units. In most of their minds their unit's effectiveness and readiness easily trumps DADT in a time of war.
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    Jul 01, 2008 2:13 AM GMT
    You don't get retirement if you get discharged before then. Here is a run down of discharges http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_discharge#Types_of_discharge

    I have a friend being discharged now conveniently a few years before retirement, and they have managed to make it a discharge that will not give him severance or at least reduced severance. He was trying to look for employment but had to put his condo on sale for a loss because he was not going to be able to afford to keep it.

    The latest is that now they (not military) will rehire him as a civilian contractor in IRAQ. Funny how you can be be good enough to serve in a civilian role and be gay, but not fit to serve otherwise. It is all too weasley and arbitrary and allows selective discrimination. The numbers are irrelevant as long as selective discrimination is allowed.
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    Jul 01, 2008 1:19 PM GMT
    It's not a big secret DADT doesn't work. I served under the policy; however, kept my sexuality hidden (for the most part) from my commanding officers - some knew and didn't care - and left with a Honorable discharge.

    From my experience though, seeing it happen first hand, those being discharged because of DADT were given "General-under Honorable" discharges, which still retains benefits, etc. despite what Wiki says.

    And they say "forced out" like its a witch hunt to find all the gays in the military and do away with them. This couldn't be further from the truth. Most commanders couldn't care less if their soldier is gay or not. And besides, simply stating, "I'm gay" isn't grounds enough to get dismissed - and some, if not most of those initially discharged under DADT wanted to be discharged and DADT gave them a way out.
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    Jul 02, 2008 3:13 AM GMT
    jaydub saidAnd besides, simply stating, "I'm gay" isn't grounds enough to get dismissed - and some, if not most of those initially discharged under DADT wanted to be discharged and DADT gave them a way out.
    This simply is not true. It is true that it can be overlooked, but there are a few things that can give grounds for being dismissed. Saying you are gay is all the grounds needed. Even holding hands with a boyfriend in public CAN be grounds. Of the 4+ that I know (all USMC) they did not want to get the boot. With one, "someone" stuck a copy of his profile (like on this site) on a car of someone in command. That was all that was needed. And the severance he will NOT get (he only gets half but he is fighting it) is very real - that came from him, not wikipedia. But as I said earlier, worst of all he will not get his retirement.

    Here is a link to the SLDN's "survival guide"
    http://www.sldn.org/templates/legalhelp/index.html?section=19
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    Jul 03, 2008 10:24 PM GMT
    Wouldn't it be great if President Bush, in his remaining lame duck period ends the oppression by executive order? Stranger things have happened.

    I remember back in 2000 there was a news report where Candidate and governor Bush was taped and overheard saying "I don't think we should be kicking the gays around". Maybe he'll make it up to us. I hope so.

    It was Republican Senator Barry Goldwater, the man whom Senator McCain replaced who first said "It doesn't matter if they're straight or not, the only thing that matters is that they shoot straight". That was long before Hillary said it.



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    Jul 03, 2008 11:00 PM GMT
    That is sad news- so slow to DEAL with human beings. Canadian Soliders just matched/participated in GAY PRIDE in Toronto.icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jul 03, 2008 11:10 PM GMT
    ActiveAndFit said[quote][cite]jaydub said[/cite]And besides, simply stating, "I'm gay" isn't grounds enough to get dismissed - and some, if not most of those initially discharged under DADT wanted to be discharged and DADT gave them a way out.
    This simply is not true. It is true that it can be overlooked, but there are a few things that can give grounds for being dismissed. Saying you are gay is all the grounds needed. Even holding hands with a boyfriend in public CAN be grounds. Of the 4+ that I know (all USMC) they did not want to get the boot. With one, "someone" stuck a copy of his profile (like on this site) on a car of someone in command. That was all that was needed. And the severance he will NOT get (he only gets half but he is fighting it) is very real - that came from him, not wikipedia. But as I said earlier, worst of all he will not get his retirement.[/quote]

    Ok, I won't say it's the same for everyone. I had three friends who wanted out, using DADT. They went to their commanding officer, claimed they were gay and was told - he needed more proof than that. The next day, they showed up in his office with polaroids.

    MP's, actively patrolled the gay area of town as well. They walked in and out of gay bars. There were soldiers in all of them. One night I asked, why aren't you doing anything - they said they were instructed to only pick up those that were "acting" on being homosexual. Simply being in a gay bar or walking out of one, was not grounds enough to be investigated.

    I guess is depends more on the company you're in and the commanding officer you fall under.
  • swimr

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    Jul 03, 2008 11:43 PM GMT
    The military went after me using DADT AFTER I had had my retirement ceremony but while I was on terminal leave pending retirement. I had three months of leave because I hadn't been able to take it because of being in the Mid East for the war. The govt was able to stall my retirement under stop-loss, send me to a combat zone, give me a retirement ceremony, and then try to take away all of my retirement or entice me to rat on others. I did the "don't tell" thing and after two months they concluded their investigation having proven nothing and I was able to get my honorable discharge and retirement. Anyone who thinks gays are not being persecuted in the military is naive, and for those who would wonder why a gay person would want to serve, it's for the same reason a straight person would want to serve.
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    Jul 03, 2008 11:50 PM GMT
    Dear SWIMER(yes dear swimer): I am so sorry to hear of this HELL you must have gone through - IT IS INJUST and you are RIGHT - one day your Gov. Military will realize that the democracy they are fighting for, includes equal rights of ALL CITIZENS.

    I am happy you secured your rightful pension - please go spoil yourself and do what ever the HELL you want - you deserve it.

    HUGS - Ricon_biggrin.gif
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    Jul 04, 2008 12:41 AM GMT
    jaydub saidSimply being in a gay bar or walking out of one, was not grounds enough to be investigated.
    I guess is depends more on the company you're in and the commanding officer you fall under.
    Yeah, the "ACT" thing is tricky. If you look at the SLDN link, holding hands, with a guy in the park might be considered an action. It all is really stupid that they waste time on it at all and like you said, if your command has it in for you it can be selectively applied.

    This is what makes the whole policy "unjust". I don't see anything "Honorable" about someone that would use laws and policies meant to bring fairness to pursue his/her own grudges and biases.
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    Jul 04, 2008 12:45 AM GMT
    John43620 saidWouldn't it be great if President Bush, in his remaining lame duck period ends the oppression by executive order?
    Yes it would! After all, if you don't have a chain of command, do you really have an effective/real military?