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The American Family Association's Homophobic Email Full Of Faulty Information

February 11, 2010 11:17 am ET

In an email with the subject line "Obama's new military: Gays showering with straights," the American Family Association attempted to mislead readers on the impact of the impending repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."  In addition to the blatant homophobia regarding showers, the AFA fails to present any up-to-date military opinions on gay service in the military.

AFA Disregards Colin Powell's Recent Remarks On DADT

American Family Association, "Gays showering with straights" email:

Powell: Because Society Is More Accepting Of Homosexuality, The Military Should Follow Suit.  Colin Powell clarified the change in his position on Don't Ask Don't Tell, as reported by the Washington Post: "'Attitudes and circumstances have changed,' Powell said. 'It's been a whole generation' since the legislation was adopted, and there is increased 'acceptance of gays and lesbians in society,' he said. 'Society is always reflected in the military. It's where we get our soldiers from.' At the same time, he said, 'we've had a lot of experience watching what other nations have done.' Of 28 NATO member countries, a small minority prohibit or restrict service based on sexual orientation." [Washington Post, 2/4/10]

Adm. Mike Mullen: "Allowing Gays And Lesbians To Serve Openly Would Be The Right Thing To Do."  As reported by the Washington Post: "'Speaking for myself and myself only, it is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do,' Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. His words were echoed by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who said the Pentagon is preparing for a repeal of the 'don't ask, don't tell' law." [Washington Post, 2/3/10]

AFA Cites Veterans' Opinions While Ignoring Those Of Current Officers

American Family Association, "Gays showering with straights" email:

Current military officers express a different view of gay soldiers.

Army Captain: Military Should Allow Openly Gay Members To Serve.  According to the Washington Post: "'An openly gay soldier would have a lot to overcome,' said Matthew Gallagher, a former Army captain and popular blogger who left the Army last year. 'It is a culture fueled entirely by machismo, and it definitely has a bit of locker-room homophobia.' Gallagher, 26, who is straight, said he nonetheless thinks openly gay service members should be allowed to serve. 'If an openly gay soldier went into a unit and proved himself competent and skillful, I believe most units and soldiers would accept him as one of their own -- especially during combat...At the end of the day, the military thrives off of pragmatism, and nothing matters more to soldiers.'" [Washington Post, 2/10/10]

Army Major: "We Have Become Accustomed To The Idea That Gays Have Served Honorably Alongside Us For Some Time."  As reported by the Washington Post: "I think we have all expected this would come in time. My sense is that it isn't a big deal among the other majors I am serving with, and even less so among junior soldiers,' said Maj. Niel Smith, an Iraq war veteran who is a student at the Army's Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. 'We have become accustomed to the idea that gays have served honorably alongside us for some time.'" [Washington Post, 2/3/10]

Captain: "I Never Saw His Orientation As A Liability To His Performance Or To The Cohesion Of The Unit Or Unit Readiness."  Regarding a military specialist who was known to be, but was not openly, gay, the Washington Post reported his captain remarking: 'I don't think his orientation became an issue, because he maintained a professional appearance and performed like any other soldier...I never saw his orientation as a liability to his performance or to the cohesion of the unit or unit readiness.'" [Washington Post, 2/10/10]

According to one officer, military discrimination is rampant and a concern for multiple groups of service members.

Senior Commander: The Military Discriminates Against The Young, Old, Overweight, Women, And Homosexuals.  The Washington Post reported the following commander's opinion on "Don't Ask Don't Tell": "'Due to the nature of what soldiers do, we discriminate against the too young, the too old, the infirm, the overweight, the physically unfit and women,' said a senior commander who has served in Iraq, speaking on the condition of anonymity to argue against the administration's position. 'Discrimination against homosexuals is no different.'" [Washington Post, 2/10/10]

Other Countries Report Gay Service Members "Not An Issue"

"The Presence Of Homosexuals In The Military Is Not An Issue."  According to a GAO report on "Homosexuals in the Military," according to military officials in Canada, Israel, Sweden, and Germany said that "the presence of homosexuals in the military is not an issue and has not created problems in the functioning of military units...Military officials from Canada, Israel, and Sweden said that, on the basis of their experience, the inclusion of homosexuals in the military is not a problem and has not adversely affected unit readiness, effectiveness, cohesion, or morale. In Germany, military officials told us that problems associated with homosexual military personnel are dealt with on a case-by-case basis and their service is restricted if necessary." [GAO, "Homosexuals in the Military: Policies and Practices of Foreign Countries," June 1993]

  • Gay Service Members Will Not Necessarily "Come Out" To Their Unit. Military officials cited three reasons for a soldier's sexuality not affecting the unit as a whole. "A key factor, they said, was that homosexuals are reluctant to openly admit their sexual orientation for a variety of reasons. For example, (1) sexuality is considered to be a private matter, (2) homosexuals fear discrimination or negative reactions from their peers or superiors if they reveal their sexual orientation, and (3) homosexuals do not see any advantage to openly identifying their homosexuality." [GAO, "Homosexuals in the Military: Policies and Practices of Foreign Countries," June 1993]