The Marine Corps became the latest group to join the movement for equality for same-sex couples. In a memo, the Marine commandant's Staff Judge Advocate warned against discrimination based on sexual orientation, and said that if spouses clubs wish to continue operating, they must allow same-sex couples into the clubs. This comes on the heels of a controversial ruling last month, when a spouses club at the Army's Fort Bragg denied access to the same-sex spouse of a female Army lieutenant.
A Marine Corps spokesman was quoted as saying, ""We do not want a story like Ft. Bragg developing in our backyard." While it's a smart PR move, it's also the right thing to do. For years, the military kept gays from openly serving with the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy. That rule was lifted in 2011, which laid the groundwork for a more progressive, forward-thinking U.S. military where men and women didn't have to hide their sexual orientation if they were gay.
While last week's announcement is great news for the Marine Corps and should be celebrated, we still have a lot of work to do throughout the military and our nation as a whole. Unfortunately, gays are still stigmatized by many in society as if their lifestyle is wrong, disgraceful or evil. It's also having a dramatic impact on our youth, too. Suicide is the leading cause of death among gay and lesbian youth nationally, and 30 percent of gay youth attempt suicide near the age of 15, according to SPEAK (Suicide Prevention Education Awareness for Kids).
When it comes to the men and women who are overseas and fighting our enemies, does it really matter if they are attracted to people of the same sex or the opposite sex? It should make no difference whatsoever. Does it really matter if your doctor, mechanic or lawyer is gay? What matters is they are competent in what they do, and perform their jobs with integrity and to the best of their abilities. In the military, all that should matter is that you are devoted to your country and successfully pass required military training.
Homosexuality is neither a choice nor a disease, any more than being a heterosexual is. Homosexuality is a natural predisposition that exists throughout the animal kingdom. The pushback continues to come from religious leaders who claim that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. This is another far-right fabrication. The real reason they're against gay marriage is because it would make gay couples equal to straight couples and remove the stigma that has been cast upon homosexuality.
If the issue was actually a technicality, could we not make the case that a two thousand year old mandate be updated? Furthermore, can the Bible really stand the test of technical accuracy? It's fascinating how the religious community manipulates the masses with its interpretations of the Bible. First of all, how does anyone know what the authors of the Bible were thinking, much less God himself?
Even former President Jimmy Carter, a long time Sunday School teacher, claimed in an interview with The Huffington Post, that, "God inspired the Bible but didn't write every word of the Bible."
This is a common manipulation tactic designed to empower clergy to embrace the good parts of the Bible as inspired by God while distancing themselves from the bad. Carter's church accepts gay members on an equal basis, but will not allow them to marry. Is this not akin to allowing blacks to attend school with whites but insisting they drink from separate water fountains? I guess we can call it partial bigotry.
The delusional thinking on gay rights and marriage is that it's about protecting the integrity of what's written in the Bible. This is one of the most ridiculous claims ever made, since the Bible is full of evil acts and suggestions we choose to ignore.
We're starting to see more acceptance for gay rights. Most recently, voters in Washington and Maryland decided to allow same-sex marriage. And now, the Marine Corps took a tough stance and stood up for equality of gay couples. The Marine Corps should be commended for this broadminded and liberal step forward. The only question remaining: when will other military branches do the same? It's time for the Army, Navy and Air Force to set a similar precedent; it's time for religious leaders and every other American to welcome gays into our society as equals.