Washington Gadfly

Navy Secretary Likens Gay Military Ban Supporters To Racists

Evan Gahr Investigative Journalist
Font Size:

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus equated opponents of gays serving openly in the military to racist segregationists Wednesday.

Does that include President Bill Clinton? The guy who signed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” insuring that overt homosexuality remained grounds for dishonorable discharge.

What about Bob Dole?  Breaking with the Reagan White House the former Republican senate leader famously supported the 1982 reauthorization and expansion of the Voting Rights Act. Said liberal lobbyist Joe Rauh: “We wouldn’t have gotten the Voting Rights extension if not for Bob Dole.”

But he is actually the moral equivalent of a segregationist for worrying that allowing gays to serve openly would harm unit cohesion? That was the implication of assertions by Mathus at the Pentagon Gay Pride Day on Wednesday.

He claimed that the folks who in 2011 unsuccessfully opposed repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” offered “the same flawed logic as those who had earlier opposed racial integration or gender integration, claiming that policies of inclusion would erode the war fighting capabilities of the United States.”

Maybe the logic was “flawed.” Maybe it was not.

But it was not “the same” as opposing racial integration.

Little steps for little feet: Homosexuality and skin color are two distinct things. One is about melanin; the other sexual preference. Plus, Congress long ago barred employment discrimination based on skin color. But it has repeatedly refused to enact similar legislation for sexual orientation.

As for his rhetorical sleight of hand that also lumped opponents of gender integration with segregationists: Women are not men. There are all kinds of legitimate non-bigoted reasons to support the military treating men and women differently.

Consider the events that following Defense Secretary Robert Gates in December 2015 decreeing that they would be allowed to serve in combat positions.

At least 30 women who attempted to complete the Marines grueling “infantry officer course” dropped out or failed. Three reportedly called it quits on the first day.

Interestingly, Mathus himself this April authorized the Marines to keep boot camp segregated by gender.

So the only “logic” that he proved faulty today was his own.