don’t ask don’t tell

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Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Discussions Were Worse Than You Think

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Don't Ask Don't TellNewly released documents show just how homophobic the discussions about the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy were behind closed doors.

Queerty reports:

“Homo[sexuality] is a problem for us,” Powell said, according to the notes taken at the meeting. He also recited all the same bogus fears that led to DADT, including the old predator canard; the notes say Powell was “concerned about forced association and immaturity of 18-year-old.”

The most offensive remarks came from Marine Commandant Carl Mundy, who 16 years later was still urging the president (now Obama) not to repeal DADT. According to the notes, Mundy said that the statement “I’m gay” was the “same as I’m KKK, Nazi, rapist.” Coming out “fractures teamwork” and tells the world “I commit [an] act Amer[ica] doesn’t accept.” Mundy wasn’t moved by the experience of other nations either. “It doesn’t matter what the Dutch have done,” he said. “We’re the best.”

Clinton was prone to stereotypes as well. “People I would like to keep [in the military] wouldn’t show up at a Queer Nation parade,” the president said, referring to the activist group.

How much things have changed in the last twenty years. And how much they are still the same.

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Gay Soldiers Living Openly in Wake of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Don't Ask Don't TellWhile the military policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the overturning of part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act opened doors more widely to gay people serving openly in the military, it didn’t mark radical changes to the way the fighting force looked or behaved. Instead, it brought the possibility of marriage and spousal benefits to soldiers that were previously denied. And, an opportunity to live more freely.

“When you come out and you’ve been out so long, it’s hard to just go back in,” said Spc. Corderra Dews, 24, who was living in Austin, Texas, and openly gay before he joined the Army in 2011.

While there are no solid statistics on the number of gay and lesbian soldiers currently in the military, a group of soldiers at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, spoke with The Leaf-Chronicle about life in the military before and after the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell’ and the Army’s decision to extend benefits to same-sex spouses, furthering the full inclusion of gay and lesbian soldiers in the military.

See the Full Story at LGBTQ Nation

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USA: Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Still in Force – for Transgender Troops

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Don't Ask Don't TellYou thought DADT had been repealed? Well it was – but not for transgender troops. Towleroad.com reports:

In the military, coming out as transgender still disqualifies you for service, a subject that USA Today tackles in a new article on the issue: “I was at the Pentagon when Secretary Hagel was saying we’re here to celebrate LGBT service,” says a transgender Army sergeant who joined the Army as a woman. The sergeant spoke on condition of anonymity to stay in the service. “I’m kind of looking around for the rest of Ts,” the soldier says, referring to transgender troops. Other troops could celebrate marriage equality, the sergeant says, but not the transsexuals… Because of the current DADT policy, it is unknown how many transgender troops are serving in the military. About 700,000 Americans (0.3% of the total population) are transgender, according to a 2011 study by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.

Like their gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, many transgender soldiers have served (and continue to serve) the country admirably in the US Military. And like gays and lesbians, they should be allowed to do so openly.

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West Virginia, USA: Senator Joe Manchin Regrets Voting No on DADT Repeal, But Still Supports DOMA

Monday, April 29th, 2013

West Virginia Senator Joe ManchinBlue dog democrat Joe Manchin said Saturday that he regretted voting against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Joe.My.God reports:

In December 2010, Manchin broke with Democrats and cast a vote against a procedural motion to advance “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal legislation. When the Senate voted to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy later that month, Manchin skipped the vote to attend a “holiday gathering.” “That was the wrong vote,” Manchin said at a Saturday breakfast hosted by National Journal and The Atlantic, which also featured MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “Today I would vote the other way.”

Manchin is one of the three remaining Senate Democrats who is not endorse marriage equality, and just recently reiterated his support for DOMA. So he should be regretting that decision in about, what, three more years?

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“Marrying” Your Financial Matters Together so that Both Spouses Share the Burden

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Hello there!

This is another one of those topics that’s not specific to gay weddings — it’s just good advice for every married married couple out there, and for partners who are considering formalizing their relationship.  If you’re gay and “married” in a state that doesn’t actually have gay marriages, you probably have more paperwork than most couples just to keep yourselves covered so that you can both have the rights of any other straight couple in your state.  If you’re gay and at least half of the couple is military, you’re going to need a whole other file cabinet to keep your important business organized in a way that is functional for BOTH of you.  So let’s jump in to this topic with both feet!

The new Mr. and Mr. Dwayne and Rodney Byrum showing off their rings... before they went home to sort out their legal paperwork!

The new Mr. and Mr. Dwayne and Rodney Byrum showing off their rings… before they went home to sort out their legal paperwork!

Who pays the bills in your household?  You or your spouse?  Do you share the responsibility?  And if yes, how is that working out for you?  Most couples find that it’s nearly impossible for more than one person to be responsible for the monthly obligations because only one person can be absolutely sure that everything that has to get paid gets paid, and only one person can keep exact track of how much money is where.  Meanwhile there are piles and piles of receipts, important documents, paperwork and policies that have to be filed and organized and maintained.  Is it any wonder that financial matters cause rifts in so many relationships and marriages?My husband and I have regular fights about this topic because I get sick of being responsible for paying everything.  It’s not that he doesn’t contribute financially – that’s not the point – he puts in more than me, I’m sure.  It’s just that he’s sorta semi-retired (depends how many weddings we’ve got because he only works a few hours a day when there are no clients on island) and I put in an 18-hour day on a regular basis, so I think it would be nice if he would take some of the burden of household responsibility off of me.  I do appreciate that he does the laundry, but the laundry doesn’t call from an 800-number when you’re too busy to deal with it.

The problem is that if I threw down and gave Bill an ultimatum, he would pay the bills.  But he would pay them his way.  Unfortunately, our systems don’t mesh.  He believes in an old-fashioned slotted thing with dates on it so he knows what’s due when and when to write and mail checks.  In my world, I pay it all online, instantly.  When I get around to it.  We have such an insane life that although I’m often late in taking care of our personal business, but by using auto-pay and other electronic features, I keep us out of debtor’s prison.  I fear my husband’s proposed antiquated system – for God’s sake, I haven’t even ordered new checkbooks in five years cuz we use them so infrequently.  As such, he wins and I’m stuck paying the bills because I’m more afraid of a paper system getting lost in the fray than I am of losing yet another hour of sleep getting things done.  Call me a neurotic control freak… I’ll own it.  Call my husband a lucky bastard… he’ll own it.

Do you have any idea how many marriages break up because of money problems?  It’s not about gay or straight.  Sometimes it’s not even about whether you actually have or don’t have money.  It’s about how the money is managed (or mismanaged) and the perceptions both spouses have about how their partner makes good or bad decisions about finances.  When a marriage is solid, it’s easy to be on the same page about dollars and sense (pun intended).  But when life is already throwing your curveballs, it’s easy to use money as vehicle for a bigger argument.

Let’s face it, there’s always something you can come up with that your spouse probably shouldn’t have purchased at one time or another.  I know that when Bill learned during a news media interview last year how much money we actually spent eight years ago on our wedding on Vieques Island and the black-tie reception back in DC a week later, he nearly flipped.  He’d had no idea.  Yes, he was there while I was making decisions and he did join my mom and I one the planning trip on the island, but he didn’t really seem to hear anything we were discussing.  He asked once or twice if we’d be able to afford it all and I assured him it would be paid off shortly after the wedding and he was okay with that.  It was seriously eight years later that it clicked and nearly set him off.  By that time, I just laughed at him.

Having a plan and an overall joint philosophy about money is mission critical for a happy marriage.  It’s something you can start working on before you get married so that when you make the transition, it’s not quite as harsh.  But once you’re a team legally (whether by legal union or by having intermingled your lives via legal paperwork) as well as emotionally, you need to have a person who is the lead for taking care of the paperwork in the family.   Paying the bills, doing the filing of the paperwork, managing health insurance paperwork, paying the other insurances (home, car, life, etc.), is a big responsibility and one that must be shared logistically and emotionally if not in actuality.  Remember, once you are legally joined, if one of you tanks your credit, you’re both stuck with lousy credit for a long time.  You are linked in so many ways that it’s hard to imagine.  Next time you go for a car loan, your spouses’s defunct, never-paid (and rarely used), post-college gym membership may pop up to ruin your day. Don’t freak – everything is fixable.  It’s just never immediate.

How can the burden be shared?  One person really does need to keep the books, so to speak, or you end up bouncing checks on each other by mistake.  But that doesn’t mean the other partner can’t be the filing guru – there’s a lot of paperwork in life.  Once you have children it gets even worse.  That stuff has to be done on a regular basis or you end up in paperwork hell.  Scanning is an excellent idea but it also requires time and attention to get it all into the computer.  Once a year, Bill and I usually have to suck it up and sort paperwork for two days on big tables to get it all put away in the right places.  Don’t let that happen to you.  It’s sorta like the “you cook, I clean” work-share philosophy.  Whoever who takes on the responsibility of paying all the bills monthly should be able to rest assured that their better half is going to file them away neatly where they can be located if there’s a problem or question.

There’s no reason to let managing your finances put a damper on our married life.  You just need a plan for the money and a plan for the paper and you need to stick to them.  If things don’t work, look for strategies that will work for your particular lifestyle.

Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques (www.weddingsinvieques.com) and Weddings in Culebra (www.weddingsinculebra.com)!

Sandy

 

USA: Eleven Milestones After the Repeal of DADT

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

One of the biggest victories of the gay rights movement was repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which officially banned LGBT members of the military from serving openly.

While there are still issues for personnel with same-sex partners (like housing or health insurance benefits) or transgender troops who still cannot serve openly, there still have been many causes for celebration.

Authored By Michelle Garcia – See the Full Story at The Advocate

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Republicans Unlikely to Try to Reinstate DADT

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Don't Ask Don't TellEven if Mitt Romney wins the White House, it doesn’t look like Republicans will try to reinstate the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

The Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee echoed this week what Romney said on the campaign trail — that what to do about DADT has already been settled even if he opposed the outcome.

“We fought that fight,” said Rep. Buck McKeon, according to the Associated Press. McKeon said that while other Republicans might support reinstating the policy, which was repealed by Congress and President Obama in 2010, it’s not something he’d pursue. And McKeon would have a lot of sway over that question as chairman.

Full Story from The Advocate

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Memorial Day Mourning Discrimination of Gay and Lesbian Americans

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

“‘The Constitution our son died for was intended to protect rights, not deny them.” Lori Wilfahrt
By Melanie Nathan

Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed annually in the United States on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War. By the 20th centu Memorial Day had been extended to honor ALL Americans who have died in all wars. It is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces, regardless of sexuality.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers help create a sea of red white and blue by placing an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries across the Country.

This memorial day, we at GAY U.S.A. the Movie are working on post production aspects of the film which includes interviews with the the family of fallen U.S. Corp. Andrew Wilfahrt.

Here is a video commemorating Corp. Andrew Wilfahrt, which we would like to share in acknowledgment that war does not discern when it comes to sexuality, and some of those who have given their lives to this Country and the Constitution for which it stands, did so knowing they were the subject of institutionalized discrimination themselves, yet were willing to die for principals that are still caste in hope. American day to day life has fallen far short of equality for all Americans under the law. Until we apply civil laws, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, equally to all Americans, we are a country that discriminates. That must change and it must be soon.

While all Americans have a right to serve openly in the military, without regard to sexual orientation, thanks to the repeal of the ‘Don’t ask don’t tell’ law, LGBT servicemembers still suffer rampant discrimination with regard to marriage equality, green card sponsorship of binational partners or spouses and a host of other missing benefits caused by lack of equality under the civil law of the U.S.A.

Jeff  Wilfahrt the father of Corp. Andrew Wilfahrt is running for Minnesota Assembly. Lori Wilfahrt speaks around the U.S.A., honoring her son’s memory. The speech seen in this video was filmed at the first OUTserve Conference in Las Vegas, 2011.

SEE VIDEO AT http://gayusathemovie.com/2012/05/memorial-day-includes-gay-and-lesbian-americans-while-the-law-does-not/ Video by Kristina Lapinski

by Melanie Nathan
melanie@gayusathemovie.com
Twitter: @melanienathan1


The Repeal of DADT is Mission Incomplete

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Melanie Nathan at Mission Incomplete GetEQUAL Rally in the Castro

Calling on the Repeal of DADT Supporting Senators to Co-Sponsor the Repeal of DOMA

On September 20, 2011, while the LGBT community celebrated the activation of the repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy, which had prohibited gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, activists, including myself, attended GET EQUAL rallies across the country to protest “ Mission Incomplete.”

I was emphatically reminded of  this incomplete mission,  when I noticed on television, that out of the six senators attending a news conference hailing the historic DADT repeal, only three have signed on to “The Respect for Marriage Act” (RFMA) the legislation that supports the repeal of the “Defense of Marriage Act,” (DOMA.)

The repeal of DADT is a milestone, in that gays and lesbians can now serve openly. Yet, other than drawing attention to the iniquities suffered by openly gay members of the military, it does nothing to further equality for LGBT servicemembers. Certainly not until all enjoy marriage equality and the protections provided by ENDA.

Transgender people still serve in silence and LGBT Servicemembers  are denied marital benefits in parity with straight members of the military.

Accordingly, activists and advocates ought to use the DADT repeal activation as an opportunity to enter what is clearly now an historically wide open door. Until this time, we have been tip toeing around legislation always knocking at the back door.   The opening is a view to the offensive inequality suffered by all LGBT members of our American society, whether in uniform or not.

The DADT repeal serves to highlight the discrimination because even though gay and lesbian  servicemembers can serve openly, they are still unequal in the eyes of the law.  Serving openly is not equality. That is why the fight has truly just begun.

The three senators who are co-sponsors of the marriage equality legislation attending the news conference for DADT, on Capitol Hill included Sens. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.); and the three, standing next to them, who have yet to sign on to the repeal of DOMA and who were supporters of  the DADT repeal include Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).

By standing at the conference and celebrating the conclusion of DADT, the latter three senators are definitely MIA – they are missing in action and ought to show up for equality – not merely the right to exist in the military or the right to exist in society for that matter. De facto existence is a given – yet de jure equality remains elusive!

It would be hypocritical for Senators Lieberman, Levin and Collins, at this point, to remain silent on DOMA and I hope their constituents will call them on this serious omission.  When they show up on the Respect for Marriage Act,  they will provide the votes needed to have the Senate repeal of DOMA. Of course the House has a long way to go; but the Senate will provide an advance trend favoring full equality for same-sex partners.

Nothing short of full equality will suffice. There is no excuse for anything less; that means the repeal of DOMA, the passage of ENDA and an Equality Bill – an omnibus of sorts – that spells out to the individual States in the US  that even though they are free to create their own laws, they are not free to discriminate.  It is un-American to discriminate.  The most basic of American values is equality and freedom. Now is the time for all to share in the magnificent intent of the Constitution.

So like the folks at GetEQUAL have asserted through the rallies, the “mission is incomplete” –  and  it is up to us as a movement to define and lead and compel the mission.   Let’s do it….  DOMA must be repealed immediately.

By Melanie Nathan.
melanie@gayusathemovie.com
www.visualcv.com/melnathan

Senators Co-Sponsoring  DOMA’s repeal:

1. U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI)

2. U.S. Senator Michael Bennett (D-CO)

3. U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)

4. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

5. U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

6. U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

7. U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

8. U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-OH)

9. U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE)

10. US. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL)

11. U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

12. U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN)

13. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

14. U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)

15. U.S. Senator Dan Inouye (D-HI)

16. U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA)

17. U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

18. U.S. Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI)

19. U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)

20. U.S. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

21. U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

22. U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)

23. U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)

24. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

25. U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

26. U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

27. U.S. Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)

28. U.S. Tom Udall (D-NM)

29. U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

30. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)

1. U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI)

2. U.S. Senator Michael Bennett (D-CO)

3. U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)

4. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

5. U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

6. U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

7. U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

8. U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-OH)

9. U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE)

10. US. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL)

11. U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

12. U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN)

13. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

14. U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)

15. U.S. Senator Dan Inouye (D-HI)

16. U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA)

17. U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

18. U.S. Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI)

19. U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)

20. U.S. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

21. U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

22. U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)

23. U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)

24. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

25. U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

26. U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

27. U.S. Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)

28. U.S. Tom Udall (D-NM)

29. U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

30. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)

US: Pentagon to Certify DADT Repeal Friday

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

DADT RepealPentagon officials will announce Friday that the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military can be lifted without harming military readiness, a step that will likely bring the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy to an end in September, two Defense officials said,

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are recommending to President Obama that he proceed with final repeal of the nearly two-decade-old policy, the officials said.

Congress voted to repeal the 1993 “don’t ask, don’t tell” law last year, but delayed abolishing it until top Pentagon officials and the president could certify that the change would not adversely affect the military. The ban will cease to be enforced 60 days after the certification, Congress ordered.

Full Story from the LA Times

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