"An Intolerable Risk"

That's McCain's view of openly gay soldiers, of Eric Fidelis Alva, one of the first soldiers to lose a limb serving his country in Iraq. A huge majority of Americans support lifting the ban; every other Western military has done so, Alva with no consequences, including Israel and Britain. Alva has said of his own calling to serve his country: "I come from a family of servicemen. My dad, Fidelis, is a Vietnam vet. My grandfather, also named Fidelis, was a World War II and Korean War veteran. I was named after them. My middle name is Fidelis. Fidelis means always faithful." But his country is not faithful to him.

We are sadly learning in the campaign that hostility to the rights and dignity of gay people is now a central Republican platform. They believe we should have no defendable civil protections for our relationships, should be the only minority group subject to being fired at will in employment, should be the only minority group omitted from hate crimes protection, and harrassed if we serve the country in the military. They believe that using the term "faggot" at a major event should incur no consequences for the speaker in conservative circles. That McCain would peddle what is patent nonsense about military cohesion and morale is particularly depressing. He's one of the decent ones. I fear that the space for gay Republicans, already small, is being squeezed into non-existence.

(Photo: Major General Christopher Cortez (left), commends Staff Sergeant Eric Alva on July 13, 2003, calling him "a credit to the Corps." From Wiki: "Staff Sergeant Eric Fidelis Alva was the first U.S. military service member injured in the Iraq War. He was in charge of 11 marines in a supply unit when, on March 21, 2003, he stepped on a land mine, losing his right leg. He joined the United States Marine Corps in 1990 at the age of 19." )