The recent kerfuffle over amendments to the NDAA that would protect the religious liberty of US troops who oppose homosexuality has risen even to the minority leader of the US House. Rep Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca) said claims of military chaplains needing a “conscience clause” were a “fraud.” The Obama administration had previously seemed to indicate the “rights” of homosexuals outweighed those of Chaplains and other members of the military.
However, in a related article intended to communicate the “non-event” of DADT repeal, The Baltimore Sun validated claims that an environment has been created in the US military hostile toward those opposed to homosexuality, despite official military statements to the contrary.
In The Baltimore Sun article, homosexual midshipmen at the US Naval Academy noted their classmates have come to their defense when it comes to criticism of homosexuality [emphasis added]:
“Pretty much everybody in my company knows now” about his sexual orientation, [Andrew Atwill] said, and “they actually stand up for me.”
If his friends hear someone say a negative remark about homosexuality, he said, they “don’t hesitate” to tell that person “it’s not cool to do that anymore.”
Whether by “cool” they mean “socially acceptable” or “in compliance with military policies,” they’re wrong on either count. It is entirely acceptable for a member of the US military to “say a negative remark about homosexuality,” though that permissiveness does not extend to disrespect or personal degradation. Just as members of the military may speak against divorce, sex outside of marriage, or the NBA MVP, they are also explicitly permitted to speak against homosexuality. From the repeal plan for DADT:
Service members may, in appropriate circumstances and within the limitations of law and policy, express their moral or religious beliefs regarding sexual orientation.
But these midshipmen, who will soon be officers in the US Navy, don’t seem to know that.
What these midshipmen have validated, however, is the belief there is an undercurrent in the US military that says opposition to homosexuality is not permissible. And that’s why the recent push by Congress to make such opposition statutorily permissible is actually valid.
For its part, the Naval Academy has an unusually laissez-faire perspective for a military institution:
Cmdr. William Marks, an academy spokesman [said] “We understand people are born a certain way and you have certain personal and private things in your life, and we’re very much OK with just saying, ‘Go ahead and do what you want to do.'”
That “do what you want to do” thing may not fly (float?) so well in the fleet.