Saturday, October 13, 2007

Terrorists, OK. Gays, No Way!

Did you know you can make a terrorist threat and still join the U.S. Army? Did you know that people convicted of homicide can obtain a waiver allowing them to join the U.S. military? But openly gay folks are not allowed to serve. Reading Equality, a magazine produced by the Human Rights Campaign, I learned:
Studies show that from 2003 through 2006, the military allowed 4,230 convicted felons to enlist under the "moral waivers" program.
The Palm Center (formerly the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military) provides additional details:
43,977 individuals convicted of serious misdemeanors such as assault were permitted to enlist under the moral waivers program during that period, as were 58,561 illegal drug abusers. In the Army, allowable offenses include making terrorist threats, murder, and kidnapping.
Michael Boucai, a researcher for the Palm Center, concludes:
The problem is not that the Armed Forces are letting in ex-offenders -- most of these recruits become fine service members, and military service often has a strong rehabilitative effect. The real problem is that, increasingly, the military fails to also recruit the best and the brightest.
Of course, I were gay, I don't think I'd want a "moral waiver," which allowed me to serve in the military. I'd want acknowledgment that I'm not presumed to be an immoral human being just because I was gay.

HRC also created Legacy of Service, a site detailing the national tour against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

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