For those of you who don't know, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was a law, signed by Bill Clinton, that says gays can serve in the military as long as no body asks or tells about whether a soldier is gay. Sounding good on paper, it was ultimately stupid and inhumane as it required gay servicemembers to hide their sexual oriention, while straight servicemembers - with talk about their wives, girlfriends, past lovers, all things that comrades talk about in friendship - never had to suffer as such. Many gay people have been ejected upon the army leaders discovery of their orientation. This includes several Arab linguists, thus harming our ability to simply know what people are saying. Since the policy started 14 years ago, the Human Rights Campaign records that 10,000 soldiers have been ejected for being gay. This is policy is cruel to our soldiers and dangerous in a time of war. The first soldier woulded in Iraq, former Marine Staff Sargeant Eric Alva, is a gay veteran who now wears a prosthetic leg. I don't remember if he was ejected or simply left on his own, but many would argue that "leaving on your own" is never done from full free will when the military environment is so hostile.
Anyway, I'm taking this distraction from my Larry Craig post (still on Word doc) to tell you about how Chris Matthews challenged this policy while moderating a debate on Hardball. The two debaters were, Patrick Sammon, president of the Log Cabin Republicans and Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council. Log Cabin Republicans are the nation's Republicans who advocate for gay rights, including marriage equality. They have supported all the federal bills that are working through Congress - hate crimes, employment, etc - which the mainstream bipartisan or Democratic gay groups have supported. They also support Republican ideas that we'd disagreee on - "national defense", "lower taxes", "small government".
Ken Blackwell works for Family Research Council which poses itself as an expert on family raising advice. They are against every gay rights proposal. But he was rather soft in the debate.
Ken supports Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Patrick opposes it and wants its repeal.
Chris won my respect by asking Kenwell to defend his support of the oppressive military policy.
You can see for yourself here.
Just look for the link that says "A place for gays in th GOP?" You'll need to look, but it should be beneath the main story, under a heading "More from Hardball".
So it shoud look --
More from Hardball
A place for gays in the GOP?
Hit that and you'll see the debate.