Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the military’s discriminatory ban barring homosexuals from serving openly, was signed out of law a year ago this month. After an exhaustive implementation review by the President, the Joint-Chiefs of Staff, and the Secretary of Defense, it officially ended almost three months ago. What effect has allowing the homos to serve openly in the military had on its strength and readiness? None at all (to no surprise to members of the military, veterans, LGBT folks, and most Americans in general).
But try telling this to Rick Perry, the one-time GOP frontrunner now polling in the single digits. He and (the also-single digit polling) Rick Santorum seem to think demonizing the gays and trying to push them back into the closet in the military, while the armed forces and the rest of America have moved on, could be their salvation.
Here’s the full text of an ad Perry released yesterday:
I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As President, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again. I’m Rick Perry and I approve this message.
We knew Perry had some, er, problems regarding race that might haunt him. But he’s largely gotten off the hook for his virulent homophobia. We suspect that, unlike Sen. Ruben Diaz, Perry’s homophobia is overlooked because he looks slick and rarely puts it front and center. But that changed yesterday when, in this ad (which looks creepily like a Land’s End commercial) he shows that his plan for America includes re-igniting the battle over gays in the military that is already over.
Unsurprisingly, Perry also assailed Secretary Hillary Clinton’s speech yesterday in Geneva which said “gay rights are human rights.” In a statement, Perry wrote (emphasis ours):
“Just when you thought Barack Obama couldn’t get any more out of touch with America’s values, AP reports his administration wants to make foreign aid decisions based on gay rights. This administration’s war on traditional American values must stop. I have proposed a foreign aid budget that starts at zero. From that zero baseline, we will consider aid requests based solely on America’s national security interests. Promoting special rights for gays in foreign countries is not in America’s interests and not worth a dime of taxpayers’ money. But there is a troubling trend here beyond the national security nonsense inherent in this silly idea. This is just the most recent example of an administration at war with people of faith in this country. Investing tax dollars promoting a lifestyle many Americans of faith find so deeply objectionable is wrong. President Obama has again mistaken America’s tolerance for different lifestyles with an endorsement of those lifestyles. I will not make that mistake.”
Perry may not have much of a shot at the GOP nomination; still, he has a lot of money in the bank, so as he spends it in conservative early nominating states, expect to see a lot more this kind of gay bashing and sinister innuendo.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 7, 2011