Bil Browning

Rep Carson responds to Gen Pace

Filed By Bil Browning | March 14, 2007 11:43 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, The Movement
Tags: Congress, Don't Ask Don't Tell, General Pace, homophobic behavior, Joint Chiefs, Julia Carson, military

I'm on my way out the door, so I don't have much time to really talk about this. Representative Julia Carson responded yesterday to Gen Pace's homophobic remarks. Sometimes it is really empowering to realize that our Congresswoman is leaps and bounds ahead of most sitting legislators - in our Statehouse or at the federal level.

Consider Don't Ask - Don't Tell today's open thread. What are your thoughts?

Find the press release after the jump or download the .pdf here:

For Immediate Release
March 13, 2007

Rep. Julia Carson "Repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Washington, DC - Rep. Julia Carson responded to yesterday's comments by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace by affirming her dedication to ending discrimination against gays in our Armed Services.

"I disagree with the recent comments of General Pace regarding gays in the military; we really are not in a position to turn away patriotic Americans from duty with our Armed Services based on a personal life decision. While I respect General Pace and his service to our country, I also respect the service of the estimated 65,000 gays in the military today." Carson said.

Carson's views on this issue align with the views of former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General John Shalikashvili as expressed in his January 2, 2007 New York Times op-ed, "The question before us now is whether enough time has gone by [since "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"]to give this policy serious reconsideration. Much evidence suggests it has. This perception is supported by a new Zogby poll of more than 500 service members returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, three quarters of whom said they were comfortable interacting with gay people. And 24 foreign nations, including Israel, Britain and other allies in the fight against terrorism, let gays serve openly, with none reporting morale or recruiting problems,".

Congresswoman Carson has long championed the rights of our Servicemen and Veterans and has also cosponsored legislation this Congress that would extend the ability of veterans to take advantage of the G.I. Bill.

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While everyone's talking about all the very qualified GLBT people who are kicked out of the military for their sexuality, I hope we don't forget the semi-unqualified and mediocre queer people in there too. While we understand that queer people are spread throughout every level of competence, it seems that using a few very compelling stories of very decorated soldiers is putting the bar up higher for us than for straight people.

Just a thought. I know those stories' ultimate goal is to get rid of the policy for everyone, but I hope people don't think that no DADT means no discrimination.

And another thing, DADT doesn't mean that there aren't GLBT folk in the military serving partly openly right now. My brother whose in the Air Force works with someone who's semi-out. And I have another friend who is dating an airman who's out to his CO.

Do you all think that it depends on which branch of the military someone's in? I have the impression that the Air Force is a bit friendlier than the other branches.

While I am always appreciative of Rep. Carson's support, "personal life decision" is not neccessarily the terminology I had hoped for.

A valid criticism, Morgan. I cringed when I read that too.

Rep. Carson has always been way ahead of the learning curve on equality for queer folk! Knowing that Julia gets it, I understood the "personal life decision" remark as a reference to a serviceperson's ongoing decision to serve in silence. Honestly, to think otherwise is ... well, as Bil is fond of saying just a tempest in a teapot, hey.

Too, prior to DADT part of the enlistment process included being asked their sexual orintation and a required signed statement affirming they were not gay. If a person was later discovered to be gay they were guilty of making a false statement, dishonorably discharged and in some instances made to repay educational grants etc. awarded.

DADT definitely needs to be taken out with the garage and I trust Rep. Carson will do everything within her power to help that happen sooner than later.

That's really funny, Kay. I deliberately didn't use that term in the comment just because I'd used it so much lately! *grins* Glad you're reading though! LOL

Don't get me wrong - and knowing Morgan, I think I can say this on both of our behalf... This isn't a deal breaker. I don't think less of her. I'm not mad or even peeved. I just wish she'd chosen a different phrase. :)

Yikes ... didn't mean to give you or Morgan the impression I thought you thought her phrase was a 'deal breaker, caused you to think less of or feel mad/peeved' with Rep. Carson. I've been reading long enough to trust you don't pack at the hip *grins*

No doubt here, she was in reference to folks having to make the personal choice to stay in the closet if they want to serve.

Shoot, I'm still flattered that you can quote me, Kay. LOL

Marla R. Stevens | March 15, 2007 8:27 PM

Knowing well that Rep. Carson knows that being gay is not a matter of choice, I read the "personal choice" language as having chosen the difficult life of having to serve in silence.

When I enlisted, I never answered the question; yet, I hardly served in silence. I had one fellow investigator swear she was going to get me busted. My commanding officer, on the other hand, stated "I don't care if you f**k sheep, you not leaving my unit". I was very fortunate in my time in service.