Don't Ask Don't Tell Opponents Pick Up Some Unlikely Support
While John McCain gets crankier and crankier about repealing Don't Ask, Don't tell, opponents of the policy have picked up a couple of unlikely allies on the right.
After much lobbying, Sen. Scott Brown has finally come around and said he will consider voting to end Don't Ask (along with the usual caveats that make repeal supporters nervous). According to Politico, Brown says:
"I have been in the military for 31 years and counting, and have served as a subordinate and as an officer. ... When a soldier answers the call to serve and risks life or limb, it has never mattered to me whether they are gay or straight. My only concern has been whether their service and sacrifice is with pride and honor."
Brown was elected to finish the late Ted Kennedy's seat, and though he rode in on a Tea Party special election wave, he still has to face Massachusetts voters statewide in a year and a half. Despite voting not to extend unemployment benefits, he probably feels he has to do something out of step with the Republican caucus every now and again. Liberal bloggers are looking at Brown with mixed feelings, as this blogger quoted by the Boston Herald notes:
"Having spent the last several posts trashing Scott Brown's pointless position on unemployment and tax cuts, we will now praise his sensible and courageous stand on repealing the odious Don't Ask Don't Tell policy." Not a ringing endorsement! But a nice nod nonetheless.
Even more shocking than Brown is that Dr. Laura Sclessinger took to the airwaves on Thursday to defend the rights of gays to serve openly. According to The Advocate, Dr. Laura revealed these nuggets yesterday:
* "When someone wishes to volunteer for relatively low pay and high danger to protect you and me, I say, 'Thank you and huzzah.'"
* "This business of being concerned about whether or not a person is gay is utterly ridiculous, in my opinion. Homosexuals have served in our military since we've had our ragtag guys in the forest dealing with Indians in the British ..."
* "In my opinion, neither color nor sexual orientation should bar anyone from fighting for their country nor should it deter them from being part of the band of brothers."
Shocking stuff, from the woman who has famously said over the years:
* "A huge portion of the male homosexual populace is predatory on young boys"
* "If you're gay or lesbian it's a biological error"
* "Therapies -- have been successful in helping a reasonable number of people become heterosexual"
* "I believe that homosexual behavior is deviant; that when homosexuals adopt children, these children are intentionally robbed of a necessary mom and dad "
At least she thinks being homosexual shouldn't be kept from getting shot at for low pay.
Whether or not Don't Ask will be ending in this lame duck session remains to be seen. Many Senate Republicans are calling DADT DOA. Before his majority checks out of Congress, Obama wants to get the START treaty signed, pass the DREAM Act, extend unemployment benefits for "99-ers," and (possibly, maybe, not really) end the Bush tax cuts. Fitting Don't Ask, Don't Tell in there before New Year's is a long shot, especially as the one time "fierce advocate" in the White House has continued to underwhelm one-time LGBT supporters.
Meanwhile, Dr. Laura, the Advocate notes, who canceled her own talk show to "regain" her first amendment rights after a racial on-air meltdown earlier this year, will be starting her new year with a new show on Sirius Radio. Maybe she'll get First Amendment protections in satellite along with her favorite colleague, Howard Stern.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.