We should fast forward to a few months from now when the politicians on both the right and the left will be campaigning for votes. It will be compelling to hear the Democrats make the pitch to the LGBT community. The back and forth that continues is disheartening to say the least. At some point this party will need to definitely choose a side: the homophobes they currently are pandering to or LGBT people. The inaction is causing immense pain and loss. They can't have their rainbow cake, and eat it too while telling LGBT people that made the cake that we can't get credit for making it anymore.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell is a topic that has been discussed at length because it is an immoral, draconian, and inhuman policy meant to harm the lives of Gay and Lesbian members of the U.S. military. The national security argument is important because it is true that we weaken our ability to have an effective military by kicking out intelligent Lesbian and Gay people. However, that is the least important argument as to why Don't Ask, Don't Tell needs to be repealed this year by being included in the defense authorization bill. This policy is overt discrimination that destroys the notion of equal opportunity as we understand it. The hypocrisy of this bigotry is that it stands in stark contrast to the very values the military is supposed to exist to protect.
Lesbian and Gay members of the military must be judged by their character, qualfications, and work ethic. Don't Ask, Don't Tell is evil in that it asks people to lie about who they are as if there is shame in being Gay. This is the core reason as to why DADT needs to be repealed this year, and not months or possibly even years from now. The Democrats have more then just a political responsibility to end DADT now because of their promise to the LGBT community, and the notion of firing up Liberals & Democrats for the midterm election. They need to end DADT now because it is the just and moral thing to do. There is no such thing as equal opportunity right now given the existence of DADT, and the following story proves that.
If you are a Lesbian or Gay person in the military you stand to lose a lot or have it cost a great a deal by simply saying three words: I am Gay. Recently, the Editors at the Advocate wrote an article titled Coming Out Could Cost ROTC Student $79,296, which states:
Sara Isaacson, a senior at the University of North Carolina, could end up having to owe the ROTC $79,265.14—the price of seven semesters of out-of-state-tuition, books, and expenses—now that she’s decided to come out of the closet, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
If this situation Sara Isaacson is dealing with does not demonstrate the inherent immorality of DADT then I don't know what does. We are seriously going to possibly penalize a woman for being a Lesbian for being in College through the ROTC? How can the Democratic party declaim beautiful speeches by a multitude of members (including President Obama), and allow this law to still stand today? DADT repeal must be included in the defense authorization bill because there is no guarantee of an ongoing Democratic majority in Congress. We need the Democrats and some of the potential LGBT friendly Republicans on the Armed Services Committee to finally place actions where the words have been spoken to get rid of DADT once and for all.
However, the military is not the only means of employment that LGBT people still face discrimination that is perfectly legal. We still need passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act which would make it illegal to fire or discriminate against employees on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Once again, the primary argument is the notion that equal opportunity for LGBT Americans has been kicked to the curb in favor of discrimination. It is astounding that in 2010 LGBT people are still asking to be treated without prejudice and be judged on our character in the workplace.
Could you imagine the emails and calls that would be done if a member of Congress argued that protecting Black people from discrimination was 'special rights'? Could you imagine the outrage if someone who was Jewish was fired from their job simply for being Jewish with no legal recourse? This painful reality in words and actions is being played out right now against LGBT people in a variety of states that lack protection from discrimination in the workplace. Blogger Joe Sudbay at AmericaBlog wrote the article, ENDA: promises vs. political homophobia, in which he states:
So, it's May 14, 2010 and there's no indication that we'll be having a vote on ENDA. There are, however, many indications that many House Democrats do not want to take any more votes on issues deemed hard or controversial...
...If we've learned anything from the past year, it's that Blue Dogs carry far too much sway in the Democratic Party. Also, in case you have any illusions to the contrary, let's be clear: On Capitol Hill, LGBT = Controversial.
Sudbay gets to the heart of the problem with the Democratic party above. The fact that too many Democrats AND Republicans are still unwilling to step up to the plate for the core philosophy of equal opportunity is deeply disturbing. "Political homophobia" as a term is continuing to gain traction because as midterms grow near there continues to be an indication to the LGBT community that no matter how engaged we are the Democrats will not vote on ENDA or ending DADT. How can you say you genuinely support equal opportunity as well as opposing discrimination when you excuse not passing ENDA or ending DADT?
My hope is that each and everyone of you that read this diary will call all of your members of Congress no matter who they are. Please demand for these people to stand up for equal opportunity once and for all by ending DADT and enacting ENDA. There are only so many ways and times that LGBT people can stand up and speak out. We need Progressives and also more Centrist to Conservative individuals to speak out about this too because LGBT people can't do this alone. We need a collective push from DailyKos and beyond it for both enacting ENDA and repealing the discriminatory DADT.
In 2008 the Democratic party asked the LGBT community to bake a cake with frosting that included all of the colors of the rainbow that represent our diversity as a community. There was a vast majority of LGBT people who voted for, voluntereed for, donated to, and generally supported Democratic candidates. In this manner we have fulfilled our role in helping you get elected a couple of years ago, and now we need you all to lead and step it up to get this done before midterms. Please stop making it a cost to be LGBT in this country not only because we made this big Gay rainbow cake for you in 2008, but also because it is the right thing to do. Otherwise, you can't expect LGBT people to continue baking these cakes for you midterm after midterm and Presidential election after Presidential election.