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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Generals, Politicians, and the Morality of being Homosexual

A guest blog from NSRC Director Gil Herdt.

When General of the Marines Peter Pace tells the world that "I believe homosexual acts between individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts," echoes were heard not only in the military, where homosexuality is still banned, but in the Presidential race, where even progressive Democrats were not willing to stand up and be counted in the fight against sexual prejudice in this country.

The general compounded his prejudice by confusing immoral ACTS that the military injunctions (extramarital relationships) with CATEGORIES of people, that is, homosexuals. For someone to have relationships with others they are attracted to, care about or love, as do LGBT people, in the 19th Century sin and disease warnings, was sufficient for them to be imprisoned or incarcerated or medically treated or ex-communicated.

But this is the 21st century! Perhaps ex-communication is the model that comes close to General Pace's stiff resistance to changing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy of our military, which was ill-conceived and which none of our allies support, and now some of the general's own colleagues think anachronistic and needing to be changed. But isn't it the Pope who ex-communicates, not generals? The fact that the leading contenders for the Democratic nomination in '08 were missing in action on this debate and shirked clear and honest rejection of the prejudice tells us that this society has still to learn the terrible lesson of discrimination. Sexual illiteracy is no excuse for generals, but it is inexcusable for the individuals who would lead this country.


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