The issue of sexual orientation in the military has been a subject of great interest to both scholars and the general public. Various countries have different approaches to gays and lesbians. Traditionally, gays and lesbians have not been allowed into the military but as the society becomes more liberal and recognizing homosexuality as a way of life, more pressure has been exerted on the government to enroll gays and lesbians into the service.
A number of countries allow gays and lesbians in the military only during the war, others have allowed fully their enrolment but others like China have totally banned their enrolment. Many countries however remain silent on the issue preferring to make sexual preferences a matter of individual privacy. This issue however remains highly explosive in the United States. This paper shall examine both sides of the issue and discuss prevailing trends. The proponents of the inclusion of gays into the army claim that their argument is based on experience and is meant to maintain the discipline and honor of the military.
Discipline and honor are the key ingredients towards the success of any military and so is cohesion which is greatly compromised when gays are included. Belkin and Baterman (2) clearly point this out saying, “that gays and lesbians undermine unit cohesion and that combat performance would decline if open homosexuals were allowed to serve in the US armed forces. ” Others see inclusion of gays as likely to cause more violence and hostilities in the army, it “would introduce a destructive potential for jealousy and subsequent violence in every unit.
” (Belkin & Baterman 2). Other opponents of the inclusion of gays into the military are motivated by personal reasons believing in the maintenance of traditions that have viewed homosexuals as not fit to serve in the military and also in the argument that the military is an institution of honor and integrity (Lind & Brzuzy 227). There has been increased activism agitating for the inclusion of gays in the service. Most of the arguments revolve around the propagation of human rights and the principle of non discrimination in the public service.
There has been a flurry of laws passed in the recent years banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in the public. Activists believe that these laws should also apply to the military. Gays too have rights and should be enrolled into the military as long as they meet the minimum requirements. There has not been any research or statistics that indicate that gay soldiers perform dismally in the military. This is one of the strongest points forwarded by the gay activists. They believe that the ban on gays in the military is based on mere prejudice as no credible evidence has been tabled to indicate how the military can be compromised.
Again, the noted shortage in enrolment is being blamed upon such laws with critics pointing out that the lifting of such a ban would increase enrolment. This debate remains highly explosive. The current liberal approach towards the issue was introduced by the Clintons administration believing “the question of gays in the military as one of civil rights. ” (Lakoff 227) Other countries such as Germany and Israel are more open towards this, allowing fully fledged homosexuals into the service. The Bush administration so as to increase enrolment opted to adopt a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
It remains interesting to observe how the issue is going to play itself out as the Obama regime moves towards introducing the much needed reforms in the military, all pointers however indicate that the controversy is far from over. Works Cited Belkin A. & Bateman G. Don’t ask, don’t tell: debating the gay ban in the military. Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2003, 2-3 Lakoff G. Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think. University of Chicago Press, 2002, 225-229 Lind A. & Brzuzy S. Battleground: Women, Gender and Sexuality. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2008, 227