One of the points that’s always brought up when DADT repeal is mentioned, a point that bigots never really have a response for, is that gays are already serving in militaries in nations allied with the United States, all over the world. Indeed, most of our first world allies allow openly gay troops to serve, and it’s happened without consequence. When bigots do attempt to respond, they end up making the United States military look somehow weaker than that of the United Kingdom or Israel.
In this piece at NPR, Nathaniel Frank, author of Unfriendly Fire, disabuses readers of the wingnut notion that DADT repeal constitutes some kind of “social experiment,” as he explains how it’s worked in other nations around the world:
In Great Britain, gay service members were banned from the military throughout the 20th century. But in the early 1990s, a court case challenging the ban made its way through the British court system and lost — so the ban remained. But after that case, the British High Court warned the military that although it could continue to enforce the ban, the policy was unlikely to survive a challenge in the European Convention on Human Rights.
“The military [then] ordered a relaxation of enforcement,” says Frank. “So in many, many cases the actual end of a gay ban is preceded by a court case and a relaxation of enforcement. And when that [British] case wound its way up to and through the European Court of Human Rights in 1999, that court struck it down. Just four months later, the military lifted the ban and accepted the court case.”
Frank says the quick change in England shows that concerns over implementing a repeal are unwarranted.
Frank says all five countries he studied — Britain, Israel, Canada, South Africa and Australia — all had major concerns about the potential effect on military effectiveness and recruitment patterns before their bans were dropped. But all five countries quickly implemented changes. And, Frank says, they experienced no wide-scale problems after the bans were repealed.
“So many different sources have conducted research since the early 1990s — before, during and after transitions,” says Frank. “There simply is no evidence showing problems, and there’s overwhelming evidence showing that these transitions are a non-event and they can occur.”
The whole piece is interesting, so read it. The “social experiment” has already been conducted, many times over. The Religious Right Wingnut wailing about the US military somehow falling apart by allowing openly gay people to serve has been found to have much in common with all of their wailing on all subjects: It’s a bunch of crap.