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Author Topic: Woman discharged from military after police told AFB she was a lesbian
Geraine
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I am a supporter of the DADT policy, but after reading this news article I am outraged.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/03/15/lesbian-air-force-sergeant-discharged-police-marriage-certificate-military/?test=latestnews

This woman had her home searched because they were trying to find her wife. The police had a warrant for her arrest due to a theft charge. They were denied entry and the police looked in the kitchen window and saw a marriage license for the two women in the house.

Well, the police thought it would be a good idea to let the Air Force Base know about the sexual orientation of the woman, and she was honorably discharged because of it.

Ridiculous. The police have no right in letting the Air Force Base know her sexual orientation. The military has no right to discharge her, since the grounds for discharge are only if she engages in a homosexual act or freely comes forward claiming she is a lesbian. They cannot prove the former and she did not come forward, so she should not have been discharged at all.

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Kwea
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I told you this happens all the time last time we had a thread about it. The large majority of people discharged due to sexual orientation were not making a political statement. They were quietly serving their time in the armed forces, and something like this happened. Not necessarily something involving the police, but a situation where someone else questions their sexual preference or "turns them in".
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Samprimary
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quote:
I am a supporter of the DADT policy
Well, this story is pretty much an example of DADT in action, so
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rollainm
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
I am a supporter of the DADT policy
Well, this story is pretty much an example of DADT in action, so
Exactly.
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kmbboots
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Geraine, why are you a supporter of DADT?
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scholarette
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Like everyone else, this seems textbook DADT policy. The policy is, don't let anyone find out (from what I have read- no actual military experience here) there is no penalty for asking.
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The White Whale
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I don't understand how you have come up with the line you have drawn.

You don't necessarily care if she is a lesbian.

You do care if she tells you she is a lesbian.

You don't care if she lives like a lesbian at home.

You do care if she lives like a lesbian at work.

You are not outraged care if she is kicked out of the military if she states that she is a lesbian, or lets it slip that she is a lesbian at work.

You are outraged if she is kicked out of the military because something found in her home was shown to the military 'unjustly.'

It's all well and good that you are outraged, but I don't really care about your outrage. How outraged should she be for the discharge, the forced secrecy, the forced shame, the disrespect in spite of her service, and the absurdity of the whole thing?

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Geraine
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SamP, I am realizing that more and more the DADT policy is not "working as intended." The way it was intended was to be (and the reason I support it) is to protect homosexuals safety, as well as providing a more comfortable atmosphere to heterosexuals.

I would like to give people in the military the benefit of the doubt, but their track record isn't exactly the best when it comes to violence against gays. I know that there shouldn't be that lingering fear, but it is there and it is real.

I'm less concerned about other servicemen being comfortable with having a homosexual in their unit. I realize they may have to bathe together. Again, it may be petty but I can understand if they did not want to be in that situation.

After the other thread and after reading this story, I would rather the government do away with the policy completely rather than have it function the way it currently does.

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kmbboots
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Thanks, Geraine. That makes sense.
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rollainm
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Agreed. Thanks for explaining.

I'd comment more on why that fear, real as it may be, is no excuse to legislate discrimination in the first place, but I'm so glad a hatrack thread on a hot topic actually came to a mutual understanding that I'm going to shut up now and go back to lurking.

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Blayne Bradley
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Ya, wasn't DADT the best possibility at the time? In theory it makes sense, the military isn't allowed to ask and your not expected to tell.

Except in Canada, if I recall you can serve freely here regardless.

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aeolusdallas
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This kind of stuff happens all the time under DADT. The person in question doesn't have to admit to it. Even if they keep completely discreet they can be kicked out if someone else tells on them.
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MightyCow
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quote:
Originally posted by Geraine:
The way it was intended was to be (and the reason I support it) is to protect homosexuals safety, as well as providing a more comfortable atmosphere to heterosexuals.

The best way to protect homosexuals is to not allow people to mistreat them. The best way to provide a comfortable atmosphere for heterosexuals is for them to stop being homophobic.

In other words, there is not problem if we just treat homosexuals like PEOPLE, and give them equal rights and protections.

Should we "protect" white men from the discomfort of having to work with blacks and women?

Obviously not. I think it's clear how we can apply the exact logic to this particular form of discrimination.

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Geraine
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MC you are comparing skin color to sexual preference. Working with someone of a different skin color than you is not the same as bathing someone that is attracted to your gender. I can understand being uncomfortable with that.

I agree that they should be treated like people, and that the mistreatment of homosexuals whould be punished. The problem is that it does happen.

Look, like I said before. If the DADT policy is not working as it should (protecting the safety and careers of gay military personel) then get rid of it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allen_R._Schindler,_Jr.

That is what originally prompted it in the first place.

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MightyCow
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But people with different skin colore look different naked, and that could make people uncomfortable. If people are uncomfortable because someone around them is different, it is vital that we protect them from their feelings, even if it's at the expense of the people who make them uncomfortable.

Here's a good example: if a black person and a white person get married, that could make same-race couples uncomfortable. It might make their marriage feel less pure. Shouldn't we protect the white people from that kind of discomfort that they might feel when they stick their noses in other people's business?

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swbarnes2
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quote:
Originally posted by Geraine:
Look, like I said before. If the DADT policy is not working as it should (protecting the safety and careers of gay military personel) then get rid of it.

I'm confused why you think this was ever the rationale for DADT. Can you cite something from the DADT regs supporting this? Because the only justifications I ever see are "unit cohesion", which means, "so the straight guys don't complain".
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by rollainm:
I'd comment more on why that fear, real as it may be, is no excuse to legislate discrimination in the first place, but I'm so glad a hatrack thread on a hot topic actually came to a mutual understanding that I'm going to shut up now and go back to lurking.

Too bad that's not a more wide-spread attitude.
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Elmer's Glue
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Shutting up and going back to lurking?
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rivka
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No. Holding mutual understanding as a higher value than being right.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by swbarnes2:
quote:
Originally posted by Geraine:
Look, like I said before. If the DADT policy is not working as it should (protecting the safety and careers of gay military personel) then get rid of it.

I'm confused why you think this was ever the rationale for DADT. Can you cite something from the DADT regs supporting this? Because the only justifications I ever see are "unit cohesion", which means, "so the straight guys don't complain".
it's a dangerous precedent shown to not really be the best idea. it was an at-the-time acceptable midway 'compromise,' somewhere between the totally wrong answer (don't let gays serve) and the inevitably correct answer (let gays serve). it's roughly analogous to military gays what the three-fifths compromise was to blacks.

Yet, DADT is doomed like most other compromises with our homophobic past. The sooner we get to repealing it and not telling gays that they have to submit to discriminations 'for their own safety,' the easier off we'll do moving forward.

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Anthonie
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
it's roughly analogous to military gays what the three-fifths compromise was to blacks.


Well said, great analogy! Sad, but true. Many gays in many places are treated about like they are 3/5ths of a person. [Frown]
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airmanfour
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MC, you're ridiculous.

And....reading the whole article it seems like there are some shades of grey and questionable activities by both the police and Newsome.

If the police came looking for my spouse at the place where we live and I'm not cooperative I'd expect the cops to go to my command and ask some questions. Does it suck she was outed? Yes. Is it super crazy under today's rules? Not really.

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MightyCow
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Sure, airmanfour, expecting equal rights for US Citizens is ridiculous. [Roll Eyes]

It's ridiculous to expect the military men and women to honor and respect the gay soldier who is willing to die to save the straight soldier next to him.

Maybe we need to rethink the recruitment program.

"We're looking for a few good men, unless they're gay."

"Be all that you can be - except openly gay."

"Aim High. Not quite as high as equal treatment, just below that."

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scholarette
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My obgyn is male and obviously I am female. I have no more discomfort being undressed around him than I did with a female obgyn. I know that the lines are firm and there will be no monkey business. When I was a bridesmaid with several lesbian bridesmaids, we had one room for us all to use- so we were all naked around each other. Also, not an issue- I knew the openly lesbian women around me were not going to do anything.

My younger, naive self thought don't ask, don't tell basically meant follow basic standards- know where the line is. So, a gay man would get in trouble for propositioning his fellow officers, but not for having a bf. I supported that idea and still would.

Though considering the amount of rape and abuse of women by straight American men in the military and the lax response by authorities, if gay men were to behave in the same manner as straight men (which I am doubtful would be true), straight men would have something to fear.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by airmanfour:
MC, you're ridiculous.

And....reading the whole article it seems like there are some shades of grey and questionable activities by both the police and Newsome.

If the police came looking for my spouse at the place where we live and I'm not cooperative I'd expect the cops to go to my command and ask some questions.

I really don't see any shades of gray here. No one has any obligation to help the police find a friend or family member who has been accused of a crime. I don't see what is questionable about refusing to cooperate with a police investigation of your partner. The constitution guarantees a person the right not to testify against their spouse in court. Police expecting a person to cooperate with an investigation of their spouse may not violate the letter of that law, but it certainly violates the spirit of it.

I find the polices claim that they saw the couples marriage certificate on the table through a window to be highly suspicious at the least. I would not expect that documents lying on a kitchen table would normally be readable by some one from outside the house.

And while the police have never (to the best of my knowledge) had a warrant for my husbands arrest, I would not expect them to contact my employer about it if they did. I guess I can imagine them calling and saying "We looking for the spouse of your employee, do you have any information that might assist us in locating that person?" If that was the extent of the police's interaction with the military, then I wouldn't consider the police at fault. But then again if that was the extent of what the police did, I think the military violated the spirit of the "don't ask" portion of DADT.

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Samprimary
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Yeah, what on earth is morally grey about exercising rights to not cooperate with police on an investigation, and how would this at all excuse intent or outcome?
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Fishtail
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While I completely agree that the police having seen the document from the window is highly suspicious, and that their actions in informing the AF do certainly seem vindictive, Sgt Newsome wasn't actually abiding by DADT at the time she was asked by police to cooperate. Rightly or wrongly, DADT states that homosexual members may serve as long as they don't inform the military of their status, but a verbal statement isn't the only way they can "tell." DADT restricts military members from participating in "homosexual acts," and part of the definition of "homosexual acts" is explicitly identified as marriage to a spouse of the same sex.

Sgt Newsome got married, and left the license in a place where it was seen (maybe). The license is a public record, so it could have been uncovered in a background check, as well (and if she's working on a flightline, she's got to have her clearances renewed periodically). So even if the police hadn't been involved, she took a risk that someone would find out eventually--she was probably betting she'd voluntarily leave the military before she got found out, but lost the bet.

Also, just to be accurate, DADT isn't a policy, it's a law. Once the military decides it doesn't apply any more, they still have to get Congress to repeal it. I believe that there's already ongoing activity to do so, but it still has to happen that way.

(Edited for typos)

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airmanfour
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quote:
Originally posted by MightyCow:
Sure, airmanfour, expecting equal rights for US Citizens is ridiculous. [Roll Eyes]

It's ridiculous to expect the military men and women to honor and respect the gay soldier who is willing to die to save the straight soldier next to him.

Maybe we need to rethink the recruitment program.

"We're looking for a few good men, unless they're gay."

"Be all that you can be - except openly gay."

"Aim High. Not quite as high as equal treatment, just below that."

Here's the way the world works, Champ:

When you join a branch of the US Armed Forces you lose a lot of your rights. One you explicitly sign away is your right to "come out" as a gay person. That's before you are sworn in as a member of the Armed Forces. I was blown away in Basic by the number of things a unit commander has discretionary control over after the swearing in. Warrantless house searches....on-the-spot drug tests....where you are and when...all of these issues come with articles and chapters in the UCMJ. These are not things the average American citizen has to worry about. But if you're smart you read the book they give you in Basic, you avoid the situations that trigger the above events.

When there's a non-UCMJ legal issue with a member of the military the civilian cops head directly to the command of the individual involved where the civilian authority's concerns, and sometimes jurisdiction, are hashed out. So when the cops asked the base what was up with this Airman's same-sex spouse not actually living with her, they went overboard in the wrong direction.

I think it sucks that this lady was outed. I think this went against the intent of DADT. I also think that this was a freak incident and that the target of this silliness did some things that painted a bullseye on her back that the cops and the AF could have ignored, but didn't.

Not cut-and-dried at all. Thinking in this case really made it all come together for me.

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swbarnes2
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quote:
Originally posted by airmanfour:

When there's a non-UCMJ legal issue with a member of the military the civilian cops head directly to the command of the individual involved where the civilian authority's concerns, and sometimes jurisdiction, are hashed out. So when the cops asked the base what was up with this Airman's same-sex spouse not actually living with her, they went overboard in the wrong direction.

The rules are explicit. You marry soemone of the same sex, you get "separated" from the military. Why is following the law "going overboard"?

quote:
I think it sucks that this lady was outed. I think this went against the intent of DADT.
How have you determined the intent of DADT? When the rules say "kick people out for being openly gay", how is getting rid of openly gay people not the intent?
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by airmanfour:
Here's the way the world works, Champ:

Here's some more about the way the world works: DADT is history. Borrowed time only. The US Military will allow openly homosexual people to serve.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Geraine:
SamP, I am realizing that more and more the DADT policy is not "working as intended." The way it was intended was to be (and the reason I support it) is to protect homosexuals safety, as well as providing a more comfortable atmosphere to heterosexuals.

I don't think that was the intention, and I don't personally support the idea that heterosexuals should be protected from confronting the fact of homosexual colleagues for their own comfort. It was a stop-gap measure, and it's on the way out, thankfully.
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airmanfour
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quote:
Originally posted by swbarnes2:
quote:
Originally posted by airmanfour:

When there's a non-UCMJ legal issue with a member of the military the civilian cops head directly to the command of the individual involved where the civilian authority's concerns, and sometimes jurisdiction, are hashed out. So when the cops asked the base what was up with this Airman's same-sex spouse not actually living with her, they went overboard in the wrong direction.

The rules are explicit. You marry soemone of the same sex, you get "separated" from the military. Why is following the law "going overboard"?

quote:
I think it sucks that this lady was outed. I think this went against the intent of DADT.
How have you determined the intent of DADT? When the rules say "kick people out for being openly gay", how is getting rid of openly gay people not the intent?

I'm pretty sure the rules aren't that explicit. Trying to make a same-sex spouse a military dependent would be pretty dumb, but beyond that, the military and it's agents can't ask if someone is gay. The gay people can't say, "I'm gay" or do things in front of people that say "I'm gay" without words. The end.

Commands have the discretionary authority to prosecute individuals for being gay. They're like civilian prosecutors, if they want to nail someone for something and have the evidence then they'll do it. By the same token, if they have some strange gay evidence but have reason to ignore it, they will. I had a friend that said some pretty obviously "I'm gay" stuff on governmental information systems, and after she got caught, she was scared a bit, slapped on the wrist for misusing said systems, and then finished out the last two years of her six year commitment (occasionally wearing rainbow bracelets under her BDUs. People get silly when they think they're fireproof). They ignored the gay part completely because she was a hard worker with little to no paper trail. My command didn't go overboard. They didn't break any laws either.

I've determined the intent of DADT by reading the DADT paperwork. And it says more words than "kick people out for being openly gay." Those extra words are important. So there's that.

quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by airmanfour:
Here's the way the world works, Champ:

Here's some more about the way the world works: DADT is history. Borrowed time only. The US Military will allow openly homosexual people to serve.
OK.
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MightyCow
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quote:
Originally posted by airmanfour:
Here's the way the world works, Champ:

I get that, Champ. I'm just telling you that the US Military's world is bigoted, shameful, and needs to change.
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swbarnes2
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quote:
Originally posted by airmanfour:
I'm pretty sure the rules aren't that explicit.

Again, based on what?

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/10/654.html

TITLE 10 > Subtitle A > PART II > CHAPTER 37 > 654
654. Policy concerning homosexuality in the armed forces

"A member of the armed forces shall be separated from the armed forces under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense if one or more of the following findings is made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in such regulations...

(3) That the member has married or attempted to marry a person known to be of the same biological sex.

That's my source for my understanding of the law. Can you point me to yours?

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airmanfour
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MC, I agree, I agree, and I agree.

swbarnes, your source works for me. And I don't see it at all interfering with my belief that the rules aren't that explicit.

Rule (e) is of particular interest (that's the loophole that makes you wrong), and I'm also a little curious about how findings are "made and approved IAW procedures set forth in such regulations" that I doubt anyone that hasn't been issued the appropriate reference material knows how to find.

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