Ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell -- second best to ending DOMA? | Buzz Blog

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell -- second best to ending DOMA?

Posted By on October 8, 2009, 3:10 AM

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The latest round of "gays in the military" media coverage is at hand. Will Obama repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" or won't he? If so, when? If not, why not?

The local news hook is former U.S. Army Lt. Dan Choi, whospoke Wednesday at the U of U's Hinckley Institute of Politics. Choiwas booted out of the service and lost his pension and benefits after coming out of the closet. Also, the Army lost a valuable Arabic linguist and ended up looking like a big, anachronistic farce of a modern military organization. ---

Of the dailies, the Trib covered the story more quickly, but the Deseret News' coverage is much more detailed. Best of all, however, isJoselle Vanderhooft's Q&A piece forQSaltLake,completely exhaustive and well worth reading for its insights into Choi's life and personality.

For 20 years, I've found it curious that the LGBT movement has so heavily focused its efforts on two very big issues: marriage and military discrimination -- instead of starting out with slightly more modest battles, such as job and housing discrimination. After all, not all gays get married or enlist -- but we all need homes and jobs.

Still, two decades on, victory on both big fronts seems much closer to hand ... and the "little" battles seem much more manageable by comparison.

Maybe those organizers know what they're doing, after all.

I will likely marry Dave as soon as our marriage has validity in this state. But I'm pretty sure the opportunity for me to serve in the military is past -- if I ever wanted to.

But stories like Choi's make it all the more clear that all these battles are important, not just the ones that affect my life personally. It doesn't look like ending DOMA is in the cards anytime soon. But ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is probably the simplest opportunity for Obama and the Democrats to have a major positive impact on the lives of many LGBT folk -- not to mention improving our nation's military prospects.

And, if the Democrats can't manage even this, it'll look like they're not even trying.

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