Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Soulforce protest close to home
SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — Police took three people into custody after refusing to leave a U.S. Marine Corps recruiting office Tuesday during a protest of the military’s ban on openly gay recruits.
The Virginia-based gay rights organization Soulforce said it was staging such protests in 30 cities around the nation in the coming weeks and months.
Organizers have dubbed the campaign Right to Serve.
The three taken into custody were among nine who tried to enlisted at the Marine recruiting station on Mansfield Road.
It is a protest against the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that dates back to the early days of the Clinton administration.
While running for the White House, Clinton vowed to overturn the military’s long-standing ban on gays.
But, amid pressure from religious groups and concern from military leaders, he endorsed don’t ask, don’t tell. As passed by Congress and signed by Clinton, the policy requires gay service members to keep their homosexuality hidden and refrain from same-sex sexual conduct.
The military is prohibited from asking recruits about their sexual orientation, and commanders are limited in their ability to investigate rumors or allegations of homosexuality in the ranks.
Soulforce condemns the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy as blatantly discriminatory and says it hurts recruiting at a time when recruits are needed.
Charles Moskos, a military sociologist at Northwestern University who helped craft the policy, defended it in a recent interview with The Associated Press.
Moskos said allowing openly gay service members would hurt the morale of the military rank-and-file and make many recruits uncomfortable. ‘The gay advocates say it will cause enlistment to go up, but I think you’d find it dropping rather than rising,” Moskos argued.
Stupid thing to do, refusing to allow out gays/lesbians in the armed forces. Not like we're low on recruits or anything. Oh wait. Yeah.
Soulforce is a very cool organization. They've got lots of nifty info on their homepage, including a breakdown of what the Bible does and does not say about homosexuality. If you've got the time, surf on over and check them out.