It’s a pretty despicable story, and I’ve already talked to Servicemembers United and others about this case. It’s for real. The Navy has already found a way to kick out suspected gays, even without using the DADT policy. And the sailors in question have no choice but to hire civilian lawyers to defend them because sexual orientation isn’t included in the Pentagon’s non-discrimination policies, and won’t be even if DADT is fully repealed this year. This is why the President has to sign an executive order adding the military to federal government’s already-existing policies outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The Washington Post does a good job of telling the tale, but in a nutshell, the Navy has suddenly decided that sailors aren’t permitted to fall asleep in a same-sex friend’s bed, even platonically, and especially while watching “The Vampire Diaries” – it was unclear whether the Navy felt vampires were gay, or diaries were gay, or whether it’s just the entire CW network that’s too queer for the Pentagon.
So, the Navy is charging the men with: “willful failure to exhibit professional conduct.” Because one fell asleep in the other guy’s room. (One guy copped a plea and got his pay docked, but he gets to stay in as a results – the other is being discharged because he wouldn’t admit to the charges.)
I’ve asked around and apparently there’s no way these guys would have gotten into trouble had someone found a girl asleep in some guy’s bed, but a guy – look out. And that is a prima facie a case of sexual orientation discrimination.
And the Navy pretty much admits that this is an anti-gay witch hunt. Check this out from the article:
Dougan, the Navy spokesman, acknowledged that no regulation specifically prohibits sailors from falling asleep in the same bed. He said rules do require them to “behave professionally in the barracks” and that Capt. Thomas W. Bailey, the commanding officer, concluded that Jones and McGee had not done so. “The determination was that two sailors sharing the same rack was unprofessional.”
Wait a minute. Two sailors sharing the same rack is unprofessional. Hear that. There’s now a new policy in the Navy that sailors are never permitted to share a bed with another sailor.
There’s no regulation against falling asleep in the same bed, but the Navy wants to kick a sailor out for this egregious “crime” which isn’t even on the books, and which wouldn’t be a crime if the other body had been female. But it’s not an anti-gay witch hunt, really it’s not.
We already have an executive order on the books that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation in the federal government, but it exempts the military (because DADT was still on the books when the executive order was issued). Once DADT is gone later this year, the President needs to immediately issue an updated executive order that includes the Pentagon as well. If he doesn’t, then I fear the battle over DADT won’t be going away any time soon, especially before the 2012 elections.
And while they’re at it, someone in a leadership position over at the Navy needs be fired – now.