Roadmap for railroading the military

On October 10 President Obama showed his true rainbow colors to gay activists attending a fundraiser for the Human Rights Campaign, the largest lesbian, gay bisexual, transgendered "LGBT Left" group in the country.  Despite the personal favor, some disgruntled activists picketed outside.  On the issue of gays in the military, what do they want the President to do? 

The California-based Michael D. Palm Center, an academic gay activist group, has issued several reports describing a "roadmap" for repeal of the 1993 law that is constantly mislabeled "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."  (Unlike the administrative policy imposed on the military by Bill Clinton, the actual law, Section 654, Title 10, states that homosexuals are not eligible for military service.)

In May, for example, the Palm Center recommended coercive strategies to get military leaders on board.  "The President should not ask military leaders if they support lifting the ban," said the Palm "Roadmap Report".  "Any consultation with uniformed leaders should take the form of a clear mandate to give the President input about how, not whether, to make this transition."

In a July polemic titled Self-Inflicted Wound, the Palm group advocated a high-handed strategy that would short circuit the political system.  The July report bemoaned insufficient votes to repeal the 1993 law, and criticized fellow gay activists for not having a plan to overcome the resistance of reluctant members of Congress, including Democrats from fairly-conservative districts. 

Palm is pushing for a "two-step" plan to box in members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with a presidential executive order to suspend enforcement of the law.  Betraying an elitist attitude and arrogance that should not be allowed to prevail, the report disrespected military leaders with this passage on page 11:

[I]n terms of their capacity to make trouble, it is the legislative process that would open a can of worms by allowing military leaders to testify at hearings and forge alliances with opponents on the Hill. A swift executive order would eliminate opportunities for them to resist.

If President Obama yields to this type of pressure to circumvent Congress, the troops would perceive that action as an evasion of his oath to "faithfully execute" the laws of the United States. 

The LGBT Left expects the president to abuse his "stop-loss" power to suspend any law regarding "separation" of military personnel in time of a declared national emergency-defined as a period when reservists are serving on involuntary active duty, as they are now.  But according to Campbell University Law Professor William Woodruff, an expert on this issue, the purpose of the stop-loss authority is to benefit national security, not to achieve political objectives:

The authority under the stop loss law (10 USC 12305) is quite broad, but the real issue is whether permitting homosexuals to serve is vital to national security. This is where the Palm Center takes things off track. They are urging the President to use his national emergency authority to create an environment that will eventually lead to the repeal of 10 USC 654. However, Congress passed the [stop loss] law to allow the President flexibility to respond to national emergencies, not to give him political cover to socially engineer the military.

Professor Woodruff continued,

Even though President Obama has promised to work to repeal 10 USC 654...unilateral political decisions in an area the Constitution specifically vests in the Congress would show profound disrespect for a coordinate branch of government.  The situation is very similar to the deference the courts show the Executive and Legislative branches in areas the Constitution assigns to the political branches.  Likewise, the political branches must be sensitive to their respective areas of constitutional authority and not try to usurp each others' legitimate areas of responsibility.

Coercive tactics of questionable legality would not be necessary if LGBT activists were successfully carrying the burden of proof required for radical cultural change in the military.  Lofty "civil rights" rhetoric cannot erase the normal desire for sexual privacy in the real-world of the military, or justify a new LGBT law and policies tantamount to ordering military women to share private quarters with men.

Consistently small numbers and percentages of people discharged due to homosexuality contradict any claim that a national security emergency justifies repeal of the law.  And it is not convincing to hold up the small, dissimilar militaries of foreign nations, none of which have adopted the extreme agenda being proposed for our military, as role models for America's forces.  Nor does it help to ignore the stated opinions of more than 1,150 retired flag and general officers and current military personnel, or to advocate "zero tolerance" and career penalties for anyone who disagrees with the new LGBT Law, for any reason.   

Some advocates cavalierly demand the accommodation of at least four different gender and "sexual orientation" groups, regardless of predictable tensions and problems in the close quarters of infantry battalions and submarines.  No one has justified these costs in terms of personnel disruptions, operational distractions, scarce defense dollars, or harm to military readiness, cohesion, and morale. The alternative plan is to demand misuse of presidential power, railroading the military from the Pentagon on down.

The men and women who volunteer to serve have a right to expect that the Commander-in-Chief  will not abuse his powers or fail to enforce a law that was written to protect morale and readiness.  President Obama should assign highest priority to national security and the needs of military, not political payoffs or the demands of the LGBT Left. 

Elaine Donnelly is President of the Center for Military Readiness, an independent public policy organization that specializes in military/social issues. More information is available at