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Some parts of military still hostile to gays
Cat : Religion
Date : 2006-08-09 13:19:30                      Reader : 313
what a civilization. Such gays in Congress or army must not be allowed to enter Muslim world till that are examined to free of aids . Islamic Civilization is not tolerant to accept gays or unisex marriage. Men and women are both prohibited from such acts. We feel pity for Western Civilization that goes against teachings of Jesus Christ peace be upon him, and against Church teachings mainly the Pope.


Reuters 9/8/2006
 
Some parts of military still hostile to gays
 
By Kristin Roberts
 
 
Sun Aug 6, 9:47 AM ET
 
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Gays in the U.S. military face regular hostility on some bases and ships where commanders fail to prohibit harassment more than a decade after the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law was enacted, although seeds of greater tolerance may be taking root, advocates and witnesses report.
 
While some leaders have created environments where harassment is not tolerated, others have not and the evidence, according to witnesses, is both verbal and visual.
 
On the Navy's USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, for example, anti-gay statements and jokes are on display and have been incorporated into a video about the F-14 Tomcat fighter aircraft, recently shown to reporters on the carrier.
 
Pilots on the Roosevelt sported T-shirts, also shown to reporters including this Reuters correspondent, that said, "I'm a Tomcat guy and you're a homo." The commander of the fighter squadron, in fact, wore the shirt.
 
"The line between that and threats and violence can be quite thin," said Aaron Belkin, director of the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military at the University of California-Santa Barbara.
 
Openly gay people are prohibited from serving in the U.S. military under a 1993 law known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The military can't ask if a service member is gay, but those who say they are gay are discharged.
 
The U.S. military argues that banning gays from the military is critical to maintaining a unit's "cohesion," the trust among service members crucial to combat effectiveness.
 
Harassment of gays, however, is prohibited. The        Pentagon, in a 2000 memo to the armed services and commanders, said "mistreatment, harassment and inappropriate comments or gestures" based on sexual orientation were not acceptable.
 
That followed a report from the Defense Department's inspector general that found 80 percent of service members surveyed had heard anti-gay comments and 37 percent had witnessed harassment against people thought to be homosexual.
 
CHANGING ENVIRONMENT?
 
The anti-gay displays aboard the Roosevelt should be seen as harassment, said Steve Ralls, communications director for the Service members Legal Defense Network, a group working to see the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law repealed.
 
"That type of behavior has real consequences," Ralls said, pointing to the anti-gay graffiti allowed at Fort Campbell in Kentucky before the 1999 murder of Pfc. Barry Winchell, thought to be a gay soldier.
 
In response to questions from Reuters, Navy Rear Admiral Denby Starling, commander of the Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, said the anti-gay messages witnessed on the Roosevelt were "contrary to Navy policy and core values and have no place within Naval Aviation or the Navy."
 
"Immediately upon notification of your observations, Naval Aviation leadership engaged to take corrective action," he said in an e-mail. "Steps have been taken to ensure that the offending messages have been removed. Squadron and air wing leadership have been counseled regarding the inappropriate tone set by such messages and poor judgment demonstrated in allowing their display."
 
Starling said other steps would be taken and the incident would be used to reinforce policy across the force.
 
The University of California's Belkin said his research shows attitudes against allowing openly gay people to serve may be changing, especially among younger service members.
 
But he said pressure to conform in an organization that places heavy value on tradition could inhibit change, noting servicemen may be "socialized to act anti-gay."
 
The military has dismissed more than 11,000 people for Don't Ask, Don't Tell violations, Ralls said. According to the Pentagon's latest data, 726 people were dismissed in fiscal 2005, representing 0.3 percent of all discharges that year.
 
Derek Sparks was discharged in 2002 after 14 years in the Navy when he admitted he was gay amid an investigation into alleged homosexual activity. He denied committing the acts.
 
The former sailor, part of a group of plaintiffs in a suit against the Defense Department, said anti-gay remarks were tolerated in the Navy throughout his career. He hid his homosexuality because he wanted to serve, he said.
 
"I loved serving and I loved being in the military so much that it was a sacrifice I was willing to make," Sparks said.



 
 
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