Tuesday, November 16, 2010

DADT hurts gay parents and their children

On The Nation website today, National Center for Lesbian Rights attorneys Ilona Turner and Daniel Redman write about the impact of DADT on servicemembers with families. The article contains numerous examples of servicemembers subject to a form of blackmail by ex-spouses who fight for custody of children born during prior heterosexual marriages. It doesn't matter whether the lesbian or gay parent lives in a state that fully supports the rights of LGBT people to raise children; the parent may not lose her child, but she will lose her job. As the authors point out, DADT doesn't really mean don't tell the military; it means don't tell anyone. Unfortunately, DADT is also a weapon that a gay civilian can use against a military ex-partner; San Francisco attorney Deb Wald describes such a situation in the article.

When DADT means that a servicemember can lose her children, it turns those children into a form of collateral damage. Does anyone remember that DADT was supposed to be an improvement on the prior rule, which completely excluded gay people from serving in the military? The increase in discharges put the lie to that. And lesbian servicemembers continue to be discharged at a higher rate than gay male servicemembers. We should thank the authors of this piece for bringing to light the harm DADT causes them and their children.

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