Equality Matters

The Anti-Gay Family Research Council Paints Gay Troops As Sexual Predators

December 06, 2010 11:51 am ET

The Family Research Council (FRC) hosted a live webcast on Thursday in order to rally support against the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." In a series of interviews, the group spun Department of Defense data to paint gay men and women as sexual predators and threats to national security through lies about military effectiveness and enlistment.

FRC Claims Sharing Close Quarters With Gay Men And Women Will Increase Sexual Harassment And Sexual Assault In Military 

FRC claims threat of close quarters with openly gay military personnel will cause an increase in sexual harassment and sexual assault cases. Top military officials say that similar fears existed in other countries and lifting the ban had "no effect."

FRC: Sharing Close Quarters With Gay Soldiers Increases Risk Of Sexual Harassment And Assault. From the FRC's webcast: 

PETER SPRIGG (FRC SENIOR FELLOW): One of the concerns that we have about uh, allowing open homosexuality in the military is that when you have people who are sexually attracted to each other put in those positions of uh, forced intimacy, in a sense. Sharing the same sleeping quarters, same showers and so forth, that you are increasing the risk of sexual harassment, sexual uh, tension, and even sexual assault. And so, uh, we just decided to go and look at what the Pentagon's own sources, uh, their own reports say uh, about that problem already. [...]

TONY PERKINS (FRC PRESIDENT): So that's something that, you know, Congress should take into consideration when changing this policy, because certainly, changing the policy could only increase that.

SPRIGG: Exactly. Uh, it would increase the number of homosexuals in the military.

[FRC webcast, 12/2/10]

Repeal Had 'No Effect' On International Militaries Despite Similar Concerns Regarding Close Quarters. According to Air Force Colonel Om Prakash, author of "The Efficacy of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'" published in Joint Force Quarterly:

There are potential lessons to learn from other countries that have lifted the ban on homosexuals serving openly. There was no mass exodus of heterosexuals, and there was also no mass "coming-out" of homosexuals. Prior to lifting their bans, in Canada 62 percent of servicemen stated that they would refuse to share showers with a gay soldier, and in the United Kingdom, two-thirds of males stated they would not willingly serve in the military if gays were allowed. In both cases, after lifting their bans, the result was "no-effect." In a survey of over 100 experts from Australia, Canada, Israel and the United Kingdom, it was found that all agree the decision to lift the ban on homosexuals had no impact on military performance, readiness, cohesion, or ability to recruit or retain, nor did it increase the HIV rate among troops.''

[Joint Force Quarterly, 4th Quarter 2009, emphasis added, internal citations deleted for clarity]

The Military Justice System Is Equipped To Address Infractions Regardless of Sexual Orientation. From the Center for American Progress:

The military justice system is largely neutral in regard to sexual orientation. The Uniform Code of Military Justice already provides a framework to ensure that service members faithfully follow their superiors' orders without regard to personal factors like sexual orientation. Further, service members already have options to seek redress if they feel that they have been disciplined or passed over for promotion unfairly.

[Center for American Progress, 3/25/10, emphasis added]

FRC Claims Gay Men And Women Are 3 Times More Likely To Commit Sexual Assault In The Military

FRC: Gay Troops Are Three Times More Likely To Commit Sexual Assault. According to Peter Sprigg of the FRC: "Homosexuals are about three times more likely than heterosexuals to commit sexual assaults in the military." [FRC webcast, 12/2/10]

87 Percent Of Military Personnel Sexual Assaults Were Heterosexual. According to the New York Times: "Of all the assaults, Ms. [Kaye] Whitley [director of the Pentagon's sexual assault prevention and response office] said, a vast majority, 87 percent, were male on female, while 7 percent were male on male. The typical case, she said, was an assault by an 18- to 25-year-old junior enlisted male service member on a woman, with alcohol involved." [New York Times, 3/16/10]

FRC Claims Elimination Of DADT Will Reduce Incentive to Report Sexual Assault, Fearing Accusations of Discrimination

FRC baselessly asserts that DADT repeal will cause a decrease in sexual assault reports for fear of accusations of discrimination against gay service members. Prior Department of Defense studies do not substantiate this claim.

FRC: DADT Repeal Would Reduce Reporting Of Sexual Assault Due To Fears Of Being Accused Of Discrimination. According to Peter Sprigg of the FRC: "It would, um, in-reduce the deterrence that is offered uh, by the threat uh, of being kicked out of the military for homosexual conduct and it has the potential to reduce uh, the incentive of people to actually report these incidents if they fear being accused of discrimination, uh, if they do." [FRC webcast, 12/2/10]

DOD Report Does Not Include Fear Of Being Accused Of Discrimination Or Bigotry As A Major Reason For Failing To Report Sexual Assault. According to an American Forces Press Services report regarding Department of Defense findings on reasons military personnel did not report sexual assault:

The most frequently cited reasons for not reporting the incident include:
-- Felt uncomfortable making a report (58 percent of women and 51 percent of men);
-- Thought they would be labeled a troublemaker (56 percent of women and 41 percent of men);
-- Did not want anyone to know about the incident (56 percent of women and 47 percent of men);
-- Did not think anything would be done (53 percent of women and 44 percent of men);
-- Feared retaliation (50 percent of women and 38 percent of men);
-- Not important enough to report (48 percent of women and 60 percent of men);
-- Thought they would not be believed (41 percent of women and 35 percent of men);
-- Thought reporting would take too much time and effort (36 percent of women and 46 percent of men); and
-- Did not report because they did not know how (18 percent of women and 26 percent of men).

[American Forces Press Services, 3/18/09]

CAP: "Fear That Officers Will Be Unable To Discipline Gay Service Members For Fear Of Accusations Of ... Discrimination Is Overstated." According to the Center for American Progress:

Moreover, the fear that officers will be unable to discipline gay service members for fear of accusations of harassment or discrimination is overstated. Military practices for addressing these situations offer fair procedures for all parties to defend and clarify their actions.

The British, Canadian, and Israeli militaries have not experienced significant problems with order or discipline following their decisions to permit unrestricted open service. The British military created a uniform code of conduct that applies to all service members regardless of sexual orientation and British military regulations provide opportunities for service members to seek redress of grievances. The Canadian military has administrative orders in place to fairly pursue accusations of harassment and sexual misconduct, and the military's Queen's Regulations and Orders dictate that no service member shall knowingly make a false accusation against an officer or noncommissioned member. A 1993 study by the Government Accountability Office found that in the Israeli military, gays and lesbians are simply "judged on their merits like any other soldier."

[Center for American Progress, 3/25/10, emphasis added]

FRC Minimizes Impact of Service Members Lost Annually Due to DADT

Tony Perkins of the FRC attempts to skew the number of military personnel lost as a result of DADT. Although the number of DADT discharges is relatively low, an average of 4,000 soldiers per year also cited DADT as their reason for voluntarily deciding to leave the military. Moreover, hundreds of those discharged had specialized skills.

FRC's Tony Perkins Dismisses DADT Discharges As "Just Routine." According to Tony Perkins, president of the FRC: "According to the DoD statistics, 200,000 service men and women are discharged each year. I mean that's just routine, they rotate in and out. About six hundred and fifty of that number, a third of one percent, are separated for reasons involving homosexuality." [FRC webcast, 12/2/10]

Hundreds Of Service Members With Specialized Skills Were Discharged Due To DADT. According to the Palm Center:

Three hundred and twenty-two fired service members had skills in what the military deemed "an important foreign language." In the two years after 9/11 alone, 37 language experts with skills in Arabic, Korean, Farsi, Chinese, or Russian were discharged under the policy. All together, more than 58 Arabic language specialists were discharged as of 2003 because they were gay, and no doubt many more since then. The military has also expelled hundreds of other gay troops with additional needed skills: 268 in intelligence, 57 in combat engineering, 331 in medical treatment, 255 in administration, 292 in transportation, 232 in military police and security, and 420 in supply and logistics between 1998 and 2003. It also ousted 49 nuclear, biological and chemical warfare experts; 52 missile guidance and control operators; and 150 rocket, missile and other artillery specialists.

[Palm Center, August 2010]

Military Personnel Have Admitted Shortfalls In Recruitment And Retention Of Medical Personnel Due To DADT. According to the Palm Center: "In the first ten years of the policy, 244 medical specialists were fired, including physicians, nurses, biomedical laboratory technicians and other highly trained healthcare personnel. The military acknowledged it has struggled with shortfalls in recruitment and retention of medical personnel for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The consequence of shortfalls in military medical specialists are particularly grave." [Palm Center, August 2010, emphasis added]

An Average Of 4,000 LGB Military Personnel Would Be Retained Each Year With DADT Repeal. According to a 2007 Williams Institute study: "Findings from a survey of LGB veterans suggest that this policy causes many of them to decide not to reenlist and continue their service when they reach the end of their tours of duty or, in the case of officers, resign their commissions at the end of their obligated service. ... Since the initiation of the DADT policy in 1994, an average of nearly 4,000 LGB military personnel each year on active duty or in the guard or reserves would have been retained if they could have been more open about their sexual orientation." [Williams Institute, UCLA Law, March 2007, emphasis added].

For more on the Family Research Council's anti-gay record, click HERE.

&mdash MMAN

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