There have always been gay service members. Hell, we’ve had a least one gay president and possibly two. (I won’t waste space here explaining who, just look it up.) While I was serving at Fort Hood, we had at least three male soldiers in my unit who did not leave much to the imagination. They were openly mocked, which interfered with the spirit de corps of my company.
Since I am sure people will think I am a bigot or a homophobe, I will offer the obligatory defense. I have gay friends! One of my best friends in D.C. is an openly gay (wait for it) Republican who, yes, owns his own flower shop. Within the military community, the closeness of living and working is ten-fold anything you would experience in a civilian workplace. Sleeping, showering, training, and, in some cases, bleeding and dying take place in such close proximity that even women are excluded. Why would women be excluded? Well, the first reason is that women look at men and men look at women. If openly gay men were allowed to serve in the military, where would they sleep and live, especially in these times of budget constraints? Will gay men want to or be allowed to bunk with straight women? Again, you well-meaning liberals who have never served in the military are in absolutely no position to offer any opinion on this matter. You just don’t get it.
Would there be entire gay companies, battalions, divisions, or corps? That would give an all new meaning to the term “the buddy system.” Look at how many service members already get in trouble with members of the opposite sex. There is a reason that adultery is an offense for which one can be court-martialed: It is immoral and in conflict with the morals that the military is expected to uphold. I have walked down this road myself and am not afraid to say that homosexual behavior is immoral and cannot be allowed to happen openly within our armed services if we expect them to continue to set the example for the rest of the country.
As a former soldier, I know that if I were a soldier, I would not want the additional distraction of knowing that openly gay service members are sleeping, working, fighting or dancing next to me. Fair enough, the dancing comment went a little far. Will unmarried partners of soldiers demand to live in married housing? Will they ask for spousal and family benefits from the government? Will they demand death benefits? At this point, your life insurance company can name anyone as a beneficiary. You can already serve and be gay, just keep it to yourself. How many service members run around demanding that their heterosexual behavior be recognized? What if unmarried straight couples demanded to live together or be recognized as a couple? I walked down this road myself as well, gay marriage, gay service and gay behavior is not what the military is about. The institution does not exist as a social experiment, but allows the rest of our society to be one.
Phil Kiver is a veteran of the Washington Army National Guard and was twice deployed to Iraq.