The Marriage Equality Debate And DADT
Paul Waldman thinks that the marriage debate has forced Republicans into a corner:
In their effort to appear reasonable and tolerant [when opposing marriage equality], mainstream conservatives have agreed that it is not acceptable to hate or fear anyone because of their sexual orientation. Once you've agreed that anti-gay feeling is illegitimate, you can't turn around and argue that gays should be kept out of the military for no reason other than anti-gay feeling. And anti-gay feeling has always been the heart of the argument supporting DADT. No one has been able to claim that gay service members don't do their jobs well. What they've always said is that allowing gays to serve openly will make straight service members uncomfortable. The threat to "unit cohesion" comes not from the gay soldier but from the straight soldier who doesn't like having to serve alongside the gay soldier. Conservatives defending DADT have no choice but to defend bigotry -- something they've now conceded is indefensible.
I noticed this particularly in Saxby Chambliss's remarks. He started out by saying that many homosexuals have served "valiantly." That struck me as a generous statement coming from him. And then he still insisted that they remain under threat of persecution because of the fears and attitudes of others. It doesn't compute. What I hope is that the maturity and reason of today's presentations from Gates and Mullen will help strengthen Chambliss's graciousness rather than his fears.