The flip-flopping McCains and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and a new ACLU lawsuit

Cindy McCain poses for NoH8

This Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell two-step is starting to really get on my nerves.

Only one high ranking military officer seems opposed to the repeal, Marine Corps Gen. James Amos. Even Republican Arizona Senator John McCain formerly stated that he would leave the decision to top military officials. However, as more and more officers came out in support of the repeal he has asserted his own opinion that we needed to wait for the findings of a study currently in progress. Now, as the study draws to a close, showing that most service members are indifferent, he moves even further from the side of rationality by telling reporters that it “isn’t the right study.”

Perhaps less politically important but even more frustrating, is his wife’s betrayal. And I mean to her own beliefs, not to her husband.

She recently appeared as one of a number of celebrities appearing a video made by the group NOH8 seeking to raise awareness about the bullying of teenage gays and the recent spike in suicides among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) teenagers because of bullying.

“Our political and religious leaders tell LGBT youth that they have no future… They can’t serve our country openly,” she says in the video, “…our Government treats the LGBT community like second-class citizens.”

But as soon as media and the public pointed out that she was in opposition to her husband’s political policies she backed down with a tweet saying, “I fully support the NOH8 campaign and all it stands for and am proud to be a part of it. But I stand by my husband’s stance on DADT.”

Her contradiction is sharply and poignantly pointed out by outspoken former Lt Dan Choi on Keith Olberman. He also makes the important connection between policies like DADT and problems like teenage suicide and bullying.

And from the Washington Post:

“He’s doing what anti-gay activists have done for decades, which is that when they don’t like the evidence, they just turn it upside down,” Aaron Belkin, the director of the Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbra, told me via e-mail yesterday. “Twenty two studies, including military studies, have found that gays don’t hurt the military. The forthcoming DOD study is #23.” The time for studying is over. It’s time to end don’t ask don’t tell.”

In yet even more DADT news, the ACLU is suing the Pentagon over separation pay.

The Pentagon is facing a new legal challenge over its policy on gays serving in uniform. This time it’s the American Civil Liberties Union, suing to change the military’s policy on the amount of separation pay given to service members discharged for being gay.

The group is representing former Air Force Staff Sgt. Richard Collins, who said he wants what is given to other service members forced to leave involuntarily.

At issue is a Defense Department policy that cuts in half the separation pay of service members who have been honorably discharged for being gay after at least six years of service. The policy began in 1991, two years before the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy” was formalized, and could be changed without Congressional approval.

Collins, who was stationed at an air base in eastern New Mexico, was honorably discharged in March 2006 for violating “don’t ask, don’t tell” after nine years of service. He received $12,351 in separation pay instead of the $25,702 he expected.

It seems gays in the military can’t even get to “separate but equal.”

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