Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Military Service not a Civil Rights issue

Former Army Capt. James Pietrangelo II and 11 others saw hopes of returning to the military dashed yesterday when the United States Supreme Court rejected to hear their appeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy initiated under President Clinton. Earlier the federal appeals court ruled that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is “rationally related to the government’s legitimate interest in military discipline and cohesion.” The decision may be a setback for GLBT community but applause must be given to the United Supreme Court for not engaging in Judicial Activism.

The military policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is something President Obama campaigned to overturn but “urged the justices not to hear the appeal against the policy” as reported by William Branigin in the Washington Post. Many are saying that Gays and Lesbians have the right to be in the military are simply wrong. Enlisting into the military is not a right of an American citizen.

The military has certain physical and mental requirements, depending on the role, that many in the American public cannot or unable to perform. The American Disabilities Act does not apply in the military. I am not saying that members of the GLBT community have a disability; rather just re-stating that serving in the military is not the right or a civil rights issue. There is a reason why women are not on the front line.

In the heat of battle, when the command comes to take a hill that will certainly result in a high casualty rate the company cannot worry if other concerns are present. This example is why family members do not serve in the same company. President Obama has asked the Pentagon to study the affects of Gays and Lesbians on unit cohesion and morale. Personally, I feel that if you can follow orders, physically perform the task, and meet the mental requirements then you can serve.

President Obama’s decision to encourage the United Supreme Court not to hear the case is the correct action to be taken. The change in the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy does not violate the Constitution which is part of the reason why the United Supreme Court decided not to hear the case. The proper channel to change the policy is through Congress.