Saturday, December 18, 2010

How Big Is This Really?

It's pretty big.

I'm about as military as a chocolate truffle. I have no interest in weapons and very little interest in military ritual and protocols. Clausewitz said that war is an extension of politics. I think war is a failure of politics, and that there are only 2 kinds of wars, desperate necessity and gratuitous aggression.

The repeal of DADT will have big consequences for gays and lesbians beyond the military. Acceptance of gays and lesbians into the military will make the case against granting them legal equality much harder if not impossible. The depravity and pathology arguments will be dealt a huge, if not fatal, blow. If gays aren't too sick and twisted for the military, then they're not too sick and twisted for protection against housing and employment discrimination. Those of us who live in big city relatively gay-friendly enclaves forget that it's still legal to deny people housing and employment on the basis of sexual orientation in most of the country. The case for gay marriage will be strengthened that much more by this.

This may well have an impact on religious arguments over the status of gays and lesbians. The depravity and pathology arguments will be harder and harder to make as gays and lesbians enlist and serve openly in the military. The religious defenders of homophobia will be forced back to ever more literal interpretations of the handful of Scriptural passages that condone it. This leads to the complication that if these passages are still binding, then what about other more exotic and quaint legal regulations in Leviticus and Deuteronomy?

Since this is a big transformation, expect a big backlash, especially from the new Republican Congress next year. I think the Republican leadership wants to get rid of the gay issue. It was a winner for them in the past, but now, it's become an albatross for them. Expect a lot of extreme rhetoric from the party's fringes and maybe a violent incident or two.

White middle class America has decided to accept its gay children (middle class minority America is more complicated and still evolving on this issue). I think both right and left want to move forward to other issues.


JCF said...

It's actually interesting to listen to the wingnuts on this.

The reason they've fought SO HARD against this (DADT repeal) and SSM, is that THEY believe that 1) military service and 2) being a married couple, will MOST "normalize" gay people in the minds of Straight America.

You saw Sgt. Salvatore Giunta receive the Medal of Honor a couple of weeks ago? The wingnuts live in ABJECT TERROR of a gay serviceman/woman receiving that medal, w/ their partner there smiling (or even, their partner receiving that Medal FOR them, if they died for their country).

Because if THAT happens, what's next? A gay Heisman Trophy winner? (Bring the smelling salts! ;-/)

Counterlight said...

A gay Heisman trophy winner.
It could happen. Anyone remember Dave Kopay?

Counterlight said...

Another measure of how big this is, it's the morning after and the phobes are apoplectic.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

I just called my Republican senator--who has never, EVER cast a vote I agreed with--and thanked him for voting to repeal DADT.

Counterlight--I really appreciate your take on this. I've gotten so cynical that--when the news of the vote came over my e-mail--my first thought was "I wonder what they snuck in the legislation that will make it worthless." It was only when Dear Friend laughed at me and said "You are NEVER happy, are you?!" that I realized I thought it would never happen....

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

To me this is a big blow to the proposed Ugandan legislation and the other ongoing efforts of the American Christianist Extreemists to use the Colonial laws (English 1862 "Acts against nature") still (mysteriously) about in parts of Africa (even made "Gender neutral" in Uganda in 2005).