Monday, March 1, 2010

Army Times Story on ROA's DADT Stance

The following story, concerning ROA's official stance on the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, appears in Army Times' March 1, 2010 issue. The story is available to subscribers only, and can be accessed here.

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Reserve group: Neutrality on gay ban misinterpreted

By Rick Maze

rmaze@militarytimes.com

The 88-year-old Reserve Officers Association finds itself an unlikely central player in the debate over gays in the military — all because the group voted Feb. 10 not to have an opinion on the subject.

At its national convention in Washington, D.C., the 63,000-mem­ber group voted not to renew a long­standing resolution that supported a ban on military service by gays that is stricter than current law. But the group also rejected a new resolution that specifically would have expressed support for the cur­rent law and the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

The end result: “Right now we do not have a position on this issue, and I am not sure when or if we will have one,” said retired Army Maj. Gen. David Bockel, ROA’s executive director. “We don’t have a policy.” The resolution supporting the ban, first enacted in 2004 and renewed in 2007, was not the only one allowed to expire, said Marshall Hanson, ROA’s legislative director. Resolutions supporting NATO, updating the Army’s education and promotion systems, an increase in the size of the Coast Guard and tighter controls on payday loans to service members also expired.

But none of the other expired resolutions — or new ones that call for improving health care benefits for reservists, reimbursing more drill-related expenses and support­ing development of a new heavy bomber — attracted as much attention as the move to drop the resolution that called on Congress to flatly exclude gays from enter­ing or staying in the military.

Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said ROA’s action “is a breakthrough for propo­nents of repealing” law and policy.

Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Pa., an Army veteran and former ROA member whose membership has lapsed, said the group took a “prin­cipled stand” in bringing the U.S. “one step closer toward respecting duty and sacrifice of all service members.” Murphy is the chief House sponsor of legislation that would lift the military’s ban on open service by gay troops.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., chief sponsor of Senate legislation that would repeal the prohibition on open service by gays, said she was “pleased and proud to see the Reserve Officers Association take this important step to make our country stronger morally and militarily.” Such statements have Bockel and Marshall chagrined and a lit­ tle miffed. Some of ROA’s more conservative members are not pleased that media reports infer that the association supports the Obama administration’s drive to change current law.

“We are not endorsing a repeal of the gay ban,” Bockel stressed.

The soonest that ROA could approve a position on gays in the military would be in June, when its executive committee meets.
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36 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am a life member of ROA but if the Executive Committee is foolish enough to endorse ending the gay ban I will relinquish my status.

Anonymous said...

Quid pro quo to your intolerance. Evolve or die.

Anonymous said...

I am a life member of several military associations, including ROA. All of them are struggling financially and their membership is dwindling. Advocating for homosexuals will expedite the downward trend and make the reversal of that trend more difficult than it already is.

Anonymous said...

How can ROA represent its members with actions like this? This is a disgrace and loss of trust by our members from the ROA Convention. I have seen our organization take other actions that are not in the best interest of our country and our membership. This is one. From a former National Officer

Lynn Mulder Capt. USAFR said...

I support ROA in the support of repealing DADT! Gay service members have long been a part of the military and it is time that job performance and readiness is the criteria that one is judged by, not sexuality. To the Executive Committee I urge your support in the repeal of DADT. I will not relinquish my membership either way and am proud to serve with ALL my peers.

Anonymous said...

If you stand for nothing then you will fall for everything. The US military is the best in the world because of its high standards. Don't erode these standards in the name of political correctness. Take a stand against changing the current policy.

Anonymous said...

As a Gay Officer in the USAFR, THANK YOU!

Anonymous said...

As a lifetime member of ROA and while I support a change in our military's policy regarding gays, I can't, for the life of me, understand why this became an issue for ROA at all nor why ROA got involved, period.

Anonymous said...

I can see this happening in the future of our United States military. I, however, think the regulations will be so specific many gays may not want to join. The currently active members may continue to avoid open notification of their sexual orientation to superiors.
I don't like the argument that other countries have done it. That doesn't cut it. It doesn't make us slow to develop. It represents an aspect of our integrity.

Anonymous said...

For identification, my accustomed screen name is Drawer22.

Speaking only from experience, subordinate homosexuals have openly fondled me unexpectedly, as well as other heterosexuals in my command. As it is and has been politically incorrect to punish such [homo]sexual attacks, even the DADT policy does not put teeth into military homosex crimes. Homosexuals prey with impunity on heterosexuals and have for some decades. Even violent, physical response (for which, as CO, I would not punish the heterosexuals in my command) does not seem to teach the lesson needed: Keep your unwelcome, homosexual advances to yourself and out of my military. As a Life Member, ROA's failure to take a stand equal to that currently in place concerning sexually predatory behavior is appalling!

Kevin said...

As a Life Member, I say Thank You to ROA !
We all spill red blood, and I've not met a man or woman in uniform whose commitment and dedication to Country and Service was in any way dependent upon sexual orientation. Beyond neutrality, I say support this change in the law.

Anonymous said...

"Lynn Mulder Capt. USAFR said...
I support ROA in the support of repealing DADT! Gay service members have long been a part of the military and it is time that job performance and readiness is the criteria that one is judged by, not sexuality."

Capt Mulder makes a good point, but it's actually IN FAVOR OF RETAINING DADT! You see, DADT DOES allow a person to be judged solely on performance without regard to sexuality - because nobody knows, or cares, as long as the job gets done. That's a good thing!

But, as a career Navy person, the last thing I want to have to worry about on a lengthy cruise is if a shipmate is checking out my johnson when I step out of the shower, since I now know he sexually prefers me over women. And if you tell me that 18 to 20 year-olds don't have, or can always control their significant innate sexual desires (or any age, for that matter), regardless of their sexual preference, I'd say you haven't a clue as to the extent of the real issues here regarding gay and heterosexual interactions in a military environment - and that's surprising!

Let's pretend you had a handful of young women stepping out of the shower in common bathrooms after six months at sea while bunking with sexually interested men. Wouldn't work, would it? That's why men and women berth in separate quarters.

So, unless private accommodations are afforded the "now-affirmed" gay military population, I believe integrating the forces with "openly" gay personnel is a terrible idea. And, if private accommodations ARE provided, then that's detrimental to good order and discipline because it smacks of preferrential treatment. (In addition to possibly fostering sexually active conduct among that segment of the military force.)

ROA, please continue to support DADT.

Anonymous said...

Professional military organizations may support current policy or remain silent if they wish. That's their right. I believe ROA should not be pushed into this debate. If ROA wants to engage they should first consult their membership. I have no doubt that our diversity among the officer corps will provide for some constructive debate.

Finally, as we know, this decision ultimately belongs with Congress. This Congress made up of both heterosexual and homosexual elected Representatives (emphasis on last word). This potentially contentious decision will be made representing all of us.

-ROA Member

Anonymous said...

As a Life Time Member of the ROA and several other such groups, the subject of Gays serving is always a issue. While their service may be welcomed and their work superior, it is just the squeamish feeling one has when you are around them. Privacy is the big issue. Their tendency to be "touchers" when you are around them makes it totally awkward. I know of no one that would want to be aboard ship or in a barracks room with a gay service member -- unless they were of the same lifestyle. Unfortunately, we live in a world of different moral standards that exisited when our Constitution was formed. The need for an organization to take a public stand, one way or the other, is NOT necessary. We have to live with the rules established by the Congress of the US, whatever they are and whether or not it coincides with our personal beliefs. We can set our own personal limits if we feel so strongly by not associating with that segment of the military. A person can be nice, polite and mix with them in large groups but still maintain their personal beliefs in private. Most of us in the retired world fall into that category - live and let live.

James said...

This is an endless debate that ROA should avoid. Personally, I oppose the military's acceptance of homosexuals based on religious grounds. While a CO of a company with 438 personnel in the late 1960's, my 1SG asked me if I feared the USSR because of their nuclear threat. I paused briefly and then said no, what I fear most is God taking His hand off our military and nation. My answer still holds. God condemns homosexuality as He does numerous other sins, many of which are rampant in our military, such as sex out of wedlock. When fighting in Vietnam, we all fought together without regard to religious convictions, sexual preferences, etc, when the time came. One of the main reasons we serve is so our citizens can worship, or not worship, as they please, one of the few nations that permit this freedom.

During Desert Storm 1, two enlisted personnel, one male and one female, were on duty on the frontlines in a military vehicle. They decided to engage in sexual activities instead of doing their assigned duty and were captured by the enemy while "engaged". It was a big news story in the U.S. that they were captured, but without the details. I heard the "rest of the story" in a classified briefing. Another female who served in Desert Storm I went on public radio and graphically described how she would let the men line up 30 at at a time and come through the shower to her for $10 each. She bragged about how much money she made while over there. Our military does not need these distractions during combat.

Should the ROA endorse conduct that contradicts my religious beliefs, ROA would leave me no choice but to withdraw my lifetime membership.

Anonymous said...

Bigotry and prejudice are weaknesses in and of our society. Bigotry and prejudice are weaknesses in and of our military. To perpetuate them by law is criminal and counterproductive to the well being and security of our country. Any right thinking individual can see that.Lift the illegal ban. we will all be better off.

Anonymous said...

As a LIFE Member of ROA and past President of the Southern AZ Chapter, I find the "vote" on not supporting high moral standards an interesting product of the convention. If a REAL vote was held so ALL ROA members could participate, I am sure that the "politically correct" results of the convention would not reflect such a liberal view of gutless lack of moral standards.
I was in the US Military on both Active and Reserve status for almost 37 years. Maybe my 3 years Active Duty in the USMC (PVT-CPL) and my 5 years in the USAR Special Forces (CPL-SSG) did influence my long standing opinion of the supposedly "gay" lifestyle. In real combat units, “brotherhood” has a real meaning as in "The Band of Brothers". Once Direct Commissioned and on Active Duty, I maintained my opinion that high moral standards are required for to support each of our US Military warrior’s body, mind, and spirit. In my retired years I continue to hold to these time-tested standards. Even today, the Special Forces conduct extensive tests on each member to ensure that not only their military skills, knowledge, and abilities meet the demanding needs of the "A-Team", but also their compatible personality and high moral standards do too.
Until someone can explain why a caring society is viewed as GOOD when some male in Napoleon’s uniform or a female dressed like Joan of Arc is waving a sword in the street, is restrained and protected from others and themselves. They are judged as delusional and not in their right mind. However, if the male were dressed as Joan of Arc and the female were dressed a Napoleon, it would be judged as GOOD and perfectly okay behavior.
You may ask “where is the sword” being swung around by those cross dressing gays. Maybe it is no accident that one of the gay publications is named "The Blade". The sword that cuts is both moral and actual. It is called AIDS.
My 5th grade cousin moved to CA back in the 1950s and was converted to "gay" behavior. His family had to watch him die SLOWLY and PAINFULLY from AIDS in the 1970s. I do not find that the increasingly larger "gay" death toll is anything to be happy about.
I guess that I continue to lack the clarity of vision unencumbered by reality or experience that so many find so necessary in their current liberal interactions. Liberals use Bigotry, prejudice, and weakness to label those citizens that stand by their high moral standards and express the courage of their convictions.

Retired Intelligence/Joint Operations Officer/NCO

Anonymous said...

A safe political position. Me, I'm against it. Don't ask don't tell has worked.

Anonymous said...

By not renewing the old resolution and not establishing a new resolution, ROA is no longer engaged in the topic. If DADT or open homosexual service hurts national security then we should have a stance. If we can't say definitively that it hurts national security, then we should stay uninvolved and focus on ROA's charter/resolutions that would improve national security. Not homosexuality, early retirement, etc.

Anonymous said...

To the individual afraid that us gays are gawking at his johnson in the shower... FYI, the current policy allows us to serve. We just have to do so in silence. We are already showering with you in the base gym. We are already bunking next to you. We are already in your foxhole. And FYI, we are not interested in your 'junk.' Those of us who live out in the open could care less. Do you think for one second it is not also awkward for us too? We don't want to hear about your sexual exploits at the O'Club or in the wardroom. Wouldn't it be better if, despite your hatred for our lifestyle, we could live with mutual respect under a set of well thought out guidelines and policies that allow both of us to serve with honesty and integrity? Under the current policy, you are living in ignorance of our presence and we are living under compromised integrity. Neither is good for the order, and unit cohesion is compromised because of it.

Anonymous said...

Somebody above questioned why ROA even entered this discussion. A long time ago, the decision to enter the discussion was driven by a morally opposed argument -- one which had no basis for national security (just read the old ROA resolution that was voted down... it was insulting to even a right leaning rational person). Why did ROA vote this resolution away? Because the former argument had no bearing on today's debate: it pigeonholed ROA out of the mainstream on both sides of the argument. For ROA to be successful in its advocacy efforts, those member driven resolutions cannot be so left or right wing that they will never be remotely considered. That's what we used to have.

As for why we should be in the debate today: This IS a matter of national security, if for nothing else than the national debate is distracted from more important issues today because of this issue. If this issue were put to rest for good, America could focus on what is more important to national security.

Secondly, ROA focuses on recruiting and retention issues that regard national security. We've focused on much less impacting issues than this for the cause of recruiting and retention. It doesn't matter if you feel unit cohesion will be hurt because it goes against your morals or if you feel unit cohesion will be helped by allowing all to serve with integrity: the fact is that retention could be affected and ROA needs to chime in on that with an educated opinion based on FACT, not personal morality or dedication to a civil rights cause.

Likewise with retention is the decision on whether it is best for the military to retain the skills of those it discharges under the current policy or whether it can afford their loss.

Also, with regard to recruiting, given the changing standards of the military to recruit necessary numbers, the applicability of open gays and lesbians is a factor in the debate.

This debate is NOT about morals. Neither is this debate is not about Civil Rights. Some may argue, but neither has any purpose in this debate. If Christian morals mattered to the debate, then Pagans wouldn't be allowed to serve. If Civil Rights were a factor, then women would be allowed on the front lines. This debate is about national security plain and simple. And national security is the business of ROA.

Anonymous said...

I am a life member of ROA, MOAA etc. May I remind the association that 'discretion is the better part of valor'. Stay out of the debate and concentrate on what our organization's charter states we were created to do. I am exhausted from political correctness, diversity, and all the other crap that has weakened our military. Don't tread on me!

Anonymous said...

To the former pres. of Az: you might be surprised to find out that quite a few people find the moral argument about homosexuality to be invalid. The military and the world has changed quite a bit, and we now allow black folks and women in equal positions too. Obtw, your service academies are all coed dorms, and they are about as isolated as a ship...if not more.

CDR Thomas Dierson, USN Ret. said...

I’m a gay retired Naval officer living with AIDS. The Navy informed me of my status in 1986 after routine testing. I’m also a long-term survivor – I’ve lived well beyond the usual 12 months. Prior to retirement in 1994, several of my reservist friends & colleagues suspected I was gay because of my unmarried status – most did not have a clue. HIV policy for reservists meant inability to serve overseas or operate aircraft. I’m proud to say that during those 8 years, I received utmost respect & confidentiality from every officer and enlisted who had access to this info. -- Respect because I was a good leader & dedicated team player.

I have perused the anonymous comments above, & find that reasons for advocating the ban of gays in the military can generally be classified into three major categories.
1) Religious belief
2) Resistance to change
3) Homophobia

As a practicing Christian, I respect those who oppose homosexuality on religious grounds as long as it isn’t manifested in hatred & violence --which are the antithesis of Christianity. Some homosexual behavior is sinful – granted – but so are promiscuity, spousal abuse/infidelity & divorce. Should we therefore consider ousting all sinners from the armed forces?

Much opposition is simply a resistance to changing times. Today’s young soldiers & sailors simply don’t have the same bigoted opinions that existed 30 years ago. They went to schools where other students & even friends were openly gay. They expect trust & dedication from other military members & don’t much care about their private sexual lives. They certainly don’t need a retired officer to tell them that homos are bad for morale. They were born after AIDS & the Internet. They are the Facebook & Twitter generation & are tolerant of sexual orientation. Current field commanders recognize this and have supported lifting the ban.

To those who feel uncomfortable, squeamish, or preyed upon by having homos in the service, I say, “Get a life”! I’ve known men in & out of service who are insecure about their sexuality & project disdain & hatred towards homos. Pathetically, such men are often unattractive, overweight, & generally lacking in social skills, personality & sense of humor. What exactly makes these “Capt. Queegs” think gays are interested in staring at them in the shower? It may surprise many of these homophobes that not all queers dress like Elton John or host Tupperware parties.

Inappropriate sexual conduct of gays & straights should never be tolerated. But we are no more likely to make unwanted advances towards another guy on shore or during deployment, than a hetero male, lusting over a female service member. Gays join the military for the same reasons straights do. They feel a patriotic urge to defend the rights & preserve the freedom of the United States; they get training in skills which they might not be able to obtain in the civilian workplace (a few of us even got to fly fighter jets from carriers); they enjoy travel & are often fluent in unique languages needed by the military; & because they seek wholesome male bonding as much as hetero men do. Most gay men know how to behave in the company of straight men (even naked ones!) But if they violate that trust, then they should be punished just as any other serviceman who makes unwanted advances. As it stands with DADT gays are being punished in the expectation that they will transgress. That is unfair & foolish.

I have an agenda not shared with the majority of ROA members. Any position the organization takes should be based upon membership decision. In any case, this is a news item that has been given as much media coverage as our health reform debates & Toyota recalls. This is not an appropriate time to put our head in the sand & be squeamish. I urge the executive committee to take a stand to repeal the ban on gays in military because it is the right and fair thing to do

Anonymous said...

I will definitely quit the ROA if they endorse the repeal.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article! True and fair.

Anonymous said...

We have always had gay persons in the military and always will! I support repealing DADT. This is about justice for all, not just a few. Denying gay persons their right to serve openly is the epitome of dishonesty. Pleeaasse...get real!

Revjaxon said...

Aside from the Moral and Religious objections here some pocketbook truths. Homosexual men generally have a 30 year shorter lifespan than normal men. They have a 90 TIMES higher cancer rate and rectal cancer isn't pretty folks. Watch tricare and the VA go broke treating AIDS and the other lifestyle related problems that homosexuals bring with them and the help and recovery needed for wounded vets is out the window. Hey ROA -- Silence is affirmation. I vote with my feet and my money.

Anonymous said...

While I would like to stay away from the name calling... Revjaxon is just plain dumb. Where on earth are you getting these stats? 30 years shorter lifespan? Being gay causes cancer? Go ahead and vote with your feet. You're an idiot. ROA doesn't need idiots. Why on earth do people repeat moronic stats that don't even sound realistic to further their cause? Cite your sources or keep your misinformation out of the discussion. Moron.

Anonymous said...

For ROA to take any position at all on this is a losing proposition, it seems. Which is, to me, the best reason to maintain DADT. Homosexuals in the military have, in my experience, been tolerated if they keep their orientation and behavior to themselves. The issue here is that some homosexuals want to be "out" without repercussion. That won't happen whatever DOD decrees, even with the endless "re-education" sessions that will undoubtedly ensue when and if the policy changes (I've been there before), being openly "gay" is not going to go over well with a lot of folks.

BG Michael J. Silva; Army Vice President ROA said...

My fellow Service members. This is obviously a charged emotional issue among our membership.

Both sides have very valid points of view. Our personal opinions count for who we are as individuals.

Yet, it is my beleif that organizations like ROA should be driven by their organizational purpose, not by individual emotional views.

ROA's purpose is set out in our Charter from Congress: to advise Congress on matters impacting National Security.

Thus far, I have not seen any empirical data elucidating the impact on National Security by allowing Gays to serve openly in the Armed Forces. DOD is studying their policy and its impact wihtin the Armed Forces and National Security.

Until we have more facts, ROA should remain faithful to its Charter.

I encourage members to express your views and to provide facts upon which our organization should act. To maintain the respect we have gained on Capital Hill, we must exert our influence when we have facts and data to back up our position. We should act strongly when we are clearly following our Charter from Congress.

In the meantime, let's focus as much energy as possible on growing our ranks by increasing our membership; thus increasing our influence on matters of importance to National Security.

Respectfully submitted

Anonymous said...

I so agree with the above comment! I have had the 1st hand experience of coming out of the shower after being in the field for a week and cornered by a Female SSG who was "so Horney and hadn't seen her girlfriend in awhile" .... (We were the only two females in this Unit so we were housed together). I didn't appreciate being sexually harassed in what was supposed to be a safe environment. Regretfully I let it go but never felt safe again when I had to be alone with her. (Especially that evening when it was the two of us alone, I worried about her climbing in bed with me while I was sleeping) I shouldn't have to worry about having sexual advances made on me coming out of the shower. That is why women do not shower with the men! Thankfully I never had to go to war with her! At that time I felt like I had no recourse but to be silent.

And as for the Ret Naval Officer with AIDS who stated... "Some homosexual behavior is sinful – granted – but so are promiscuity, spousal abuse/infidelity & divorce. Should we therefore consider ousting all sinners from the armed forces?" We don’t create special groups for wife beaters and those that cheat on their spouse, nor does the community support it and forced to say they are ok!


ROA Thank you for "NOT endorsing a repeal of the gay ban,” For this reason along with the great things you do I will continue supporting you and recommending you!

V/R

Anonymous said...

I so agree with the above comment! I have had the 1st hand experience of coming out of the shower after being in the field for a week and cornered by a Female SSG who was "so Horney and hadn't seen her girlfriend in awhile" .... (We were the only two females in this Unit so we were housed together). I didn't appreciate being sexually harassed in what was supposed to be a safe environment. Regretfully I let it go but never felt safe again when I had to be alone with her. (Especially that evening when it was the two of us alone, I worried about her climbing in bed with me while I was sleeping) I shouldn't have to worry about having sexual advances made on me coming out of the shower. That is why women do not shower with the men! Thankfully I never had to go to war with her! At that time I felt like I had no recourse but to be silent.

And as for the Ret Naval Officer with AIDS who stated... "Some homosexual behavior is sinful – granted – but so are promiscuity, spousal abuse/infidelity & divorce. Should we therefore consider ousting all sinners from the armed forces?" We don’t create special groups for wife beaters and those that cheat on their spouse, nor does the community support it and forced to say they are ok!


ROA Thank you for "NOT endorsing a repeal of the gay ban,” For this reason along with the great things you do I will continue supporting you and recommending you!

V/R

Anonymous said...

I am disgusted that the ROA did not take a stand for the DADT policy. I am disqusted that sexual behavior behind close doors has now become national policy. Who's next? Those who want to have sex with goats will be federally protected. How about the pedophile's when do we start hearing from them for protective rights? Has society gone mad to embrace what is not natural? Has the ROA now gotten a case of the dumb a sugar sugar?

RevJaxon said...

Wanted to respond to whoever called me a moron. The statistics of 30 year lower lifespan and 90X higher cancer rate is from the Centers for Disease Control. Also the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sees fit to only ban one group from blood donation - wow you guessed it - the homosexuals. If we are going to quit caring about lifestyle issues then lets let criminals, obese people, drug users etc just join on in. Come on!

CDR Dierson if you are a practicing Christian then you aren't practicing homosexuality. I realize we all sin and sexual promiscuity is sin.

What about those that like little children or their pet. Is that the next step down this road. Think about it.

Anonymous said...

What is the agenda of a group of people who want to openly talk about their sexual behavior? DADT is a proper policy for homosexuals and heterosexuals. I hate the argument that today's service members grew up with openly gay individuals and are more tolerant. It is bad enough that our youth are being conditioned to accept and experiment with homosexual behavior by introducing this topic in the schools. In another generation we will have a bisexual society if we don't stop this agenda. Rampant bisexuality will be the real problem in 20-30 years.
So much for family values.