The soldiers and Marines who are doing the fighting and dying on our behalf are most opposed to open homosexuality in the ranks. But is openly gay service a question that ought to be decided by the polls?
Two of the most commonly made arguments for allowing open homosexuality in the military are that the American people support it and that American servicemen and women are becoming increasingly receptive to it. But is this really true? And if it is true, does it really matter?
The answer to the first question is: Yes, most Americans — 75% according to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll — apparently do support openly gay military service. But I believe that’s only because most people have a false sense of what open homosexuality in the military really would entail.
Most people think open homosexuality would affect the military no differently than it affects the civilian workplace, but they’re wrong. Government-run military life — especially in the infantry and combat arms — is very unique and very different than free market civilian life.
I’ll discuss these differences in greater detail in a future post. Suffice it to say that any comparison between civilian life and military life is seriously misplaced and fallacious.
The answer to the second question is: No, the polls really don’t matter, because most Americans don’t serve in or understand the U.S. military. They don’t, therefore, have a right to impose their false sense of egalitarian justice on the U.S. military.
What’s more, military support for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” remains strong, especially among personnel for whom a change in policy would be most disruptive, and that is members of the infantry and combat arms.
Indeed, a comprehensive poll conducted by Military Times found that 51% of American servicemen and women oppose open homosexuality within the ranks. The Times found that just 27% of military men versus 55% of military women favor open homosexuality; and the corresponding figure for Marines is just 17 percent.
This is significant because men, not women, overwhelmingly compose the combat arms; and also because Marines are far more likely to serve in an infantry or ground combat unit than are personnel from other services. In fact, every Marine is trained as a combat infantryman.
It is true that military opposition to open homosexuality within the ranks has been declining; and that many servicemen and women seem to think a change in policy is inevitable. Military Times, for instance, found that in 2003, an additional 12% of military personnel — 63% in all –opposed openly gay service versus 51% today.
This is not surprising since American servicemen and women are a product of American culture; and American pop culture (aided and abetted by the media) has been waging a vigorous and concerted long-running campaign to legitimize homosexuality. But military social policy ought to be determined not by the polls, but by what is right for military readiness and operational effectiveness.
These same public opinion polls, remember, show that the American people strongly support voluntary school prayer and a Constitutional amendment to ban flag burning. Yet, the Left and its Big Media subsidiary don’t cite these polls as reasons to push ahead with voluntary school prayer and a Constitutional amendment to ban flag burning.
That’s because these issues don’t comport with the liberal agenda — so public opinion is ignored and dismissed. But openly gay military service is an issue that the Big Media and the Left vigorously and theologically support — so public opinion is touted ad nauseam as reason enough change the policy.
In Part VI of this series, we’ll examine in greater detail whether the “feelings” or sentiment of American servicemen and women have any relevance at all to the debate over “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
John R. Guardiano is an Arlington, Virginia-based writer and analyst. He served as a Marine in Iraq and is still a military reservist. Follow him on Twitter.
Other installments in this series, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and Don’t Even Pretend to Be Fair”: