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Gays In The Military Essay

1867 words - 7 pages

Homosexuality is relating to, or having a sexual orientation to persons of the same sex. This paper will consider the political controversy over the issue of allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military. It briefly reviews the history of some policies, discusses the issue as it arose during the 1992 presidential campaign, and considers the unfolding of the debate. In addition, the paper reviews and analyzes efforts by the Clinton administration and Congress to seek a resolution. Finally, it considers the effects of current and possible future court challenges and shows the outcome of gays being open in the military; rather it be to a friend or to themselves, through watching a clip from the movie 'Soldier's Girl'.The history of the military policy on homosexuality follows two tracks: legal restrictions and administrative directives or regulations. Considering the legal question first, U. S. military law prior to World War I did not specifically address homosexuality. Although commanders had great discretion in the control and disciplining of their troops, specific laws, regulations, or policies addressing homosexuality did not exist. The Articles of War of 1916, which were made effective March 1, 1917, restricted consideration of sodomy to cases of assault with the "intent to commit" sodomy. Following the end of World War I, Congress enacted the Articles of War of, which first named sodomy as a specific offense. The 1921 Manual for Court's Martial addressed the issue of consent as it pertained to the sodomy laws enacted by Congress "Both parties are liable as principals if each is adult and consents." This language pertained to both homosexuals and heterosexuals.Two value systems collide head-on in the campaign to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. Both camps see themselves as moral defenders in a just war. On the other hand, soldiers opposing the ban stand on the principle that gays are a minority group whose civil rights should not be violated. They contend that the ban creates an unwarranted climate of fear and intimidation for gays and lesbians in the military. In contrast, soldiers who support the ban believe that the initiative undermines basic moral values on which this country was founded. They view homosexuality as sinful behavior that cannot be condoned. The two sides show little inclination to compromise: the anti-ban soldiers share only pro-ban sentiments concerning privacy, while pro-ban soldiers dismiss anti-ban arguments altogether.This paper uses survey and interview data from active-duty army soldiers to analyze these themes and the underlying principles that guide them. It also examines why men, who comprise 88 percent of army personnel, are more strongly opposed to allowing open gays in the military than are women. The findings show that women more easily identify with gays and lesbians as a fellow minority and, further, some servicewomen feel this debate has advanced their own concerns about...

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