If you’re over the age of 40 you can remember a time when gays, then known as homosexuals, were suspected but they kept their sexual preference in the “closet.” One might say that as a society we’ve become more tolerant, or perhaps we’re confused whether the lifestyle is genetic, sociological or psychological. When we don’t know whether something is a choice, we, as a people, tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s not a matter of their own choosing. Perhaps someday we’ll have a definitive answer, but until then the majority of the population has decided to accept it.

Cable television programs have made “gayness” appear more mainstream by highlighting openly gay individuals as characters on programs such as ‘Will & Grace’ and on reality programs; being gay isn’t what it used to be. Perhaps that’s a good thing.

Accepting doesn’t mean endorsing. The same could be said for smoking, or overeating and even alcoholism. Smoking, in particular nicotine, is widely accepted as the most addicting chemical on the planet. We know obesity runs in families, so there is a genetic component; the same goes for alcoholism. Yet we are now far more tolerant of gays than we are to smokers, who are relegated to taking their habits into the closet and the obese which are routinely looked down upon by the public.

Nonetheless, just as homosexuals were around thousands of years ago, they will be a fact for thousands of years to come. Gays serve with great courage in our military, are dedicated civil servants and even in law enforcement. Their lifestyle doesn’t affect their ability to serve the public and for that reason alone acceptance of our differences is something we need to adjust to.

Having laid that groundwork, the destination of this article may be a bit of a mystery.

We face a bit of a dilemma between the end of “don’t ask/don’t tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA.) Why? They are not the same. Don’t ask/Don’t tell was a policy where gays could serve in the military, however they were required to keep their lifestyle to themselves. That policy officially ended in December and the military was transitioning to a new military where openly gay individuals were accepted until a recent ruling by the 9th Circuit Appeals Court. DOMA was enacted September 21, 1996. The Act defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman, however only affects recognition for federal purposes.

States may enact legislation allowing marriage between same-sex couples, however that marriage will not be recognized by the federal government; therefore partners married in a state allowing gays to marry will not be granted federal benefits. This is where don’t ask/don’t tell and DOMA butt heads.


A gay member of the military can find a place to get married, however benefits will not be offered to their same-sex “spouse.” In the view of the military the marriage will not be recognized and the couple will still be denied most of the benefits the Defense Department provides to heterosexual couples such as medical care, travel, housing and other living expenses.

According to the Pentagon the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act prohibits the Defense Department from extending those benefits to gay couples, regardless of the legal status in certain states. But, as many had predicted, the slope has become slippery and Congress may well step in and alter DOMA.

“It’s not going to work,” said Army Reserve Capt. R. Clarke Cooper, who heads up the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights group that sued the Justice Department to stop the enforcement of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. “Taking care of our soldiers is necessary to ensure morale and unit cohesion. This creates a glaring stratification in the disbursement of support services and benefits.”

Gay spouses will be denied military ID cards. That means they will not be allowed on bases unless they are accompanied by a service member and they cannot shop at commissaries or exchanges that have reduced prices for groceries and clothing, nor can they be treated at military medical facilities. They also will be excluded from base programs providing recreation and other such kinds of support.

The benefits issue came up repeatedly during training sessions to prepare troops for the policy change. “There are inconsistencies,” Maj. Daryl Desimone told a class of Marines at Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego, after being asked about benefits for gay military personnel. “Anyone who looks at it logically will see there are some things that need to be worked out in the future.”

The military’s policy denying benefits to same-sex couples could change if legal challenges to the DOMA prove successful. The Obama administration has said it will not defend DOMA in court. Surpising? Not in the least. The President will use taxpayer dollars to covert the military to an openly gay organization but will not do the same to protect traditional marriages.

Earlier this month, the Justice Department filed a legal brief in federal court in San Francisco in support of a lesbian federal employee’s lawsuit claiming the government wrongly denied health coverage to her same-sex spouse. The brief said the lawsuit should not be dismissed because DOMA violates the constitution’s guarantee of equal protection and was motivated by hostility toward gays and lesbians.

The right to privacy is guaranteed by the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th amendments to the Constitution. What you choose to do in the privacy of your own home is of no one’s concern. The right to privacy however doesn’t say that tax dollars should go to provide benefits to someone whose lifestyle is outside society’s norm.

Regardless of your political views, science provides one important piece of information, that being that it takes one man and one woman to make a baby. Unless, as a society, we want the propagation of our species relegated to sperm and egg donors, the “traditional” family is a rather important feature of humankind.

In our modern society we tend to be accepting of people’s differences, however when taxpayers are subsidizing any lifestyle they are encouraging it. Consider the following comparison: Joe Gov works hard every day fixing problems with the building systems in a federal office building. After a long day at work, Joe likes to go home and dress in woman’s clothing. Joe doesn’t know why he does it; nor do we. Perhaps it’s a choice; perhaps it’s genetic. Inevitably there will be a government study to figure out whether Joe was born this way. If Joe showed up for work dressed as a woman he’d have other issues. Joe is in a tough position; unless he’s married to a woman that wears his size clothing, Joe needs to put out a significant amount of extra money to live the lifestyle that makes him happy. Should taxpayers subsidize Joe’s need to live his life in the manner which brings him happiness, regardless of its origin? Hell no. Is this in the same ballpark as being gay? Who knows.

About now a few thousand gay persons are grinding their teeth and saying this isn’t a valid comparison. Perhaps. However, to many of us when the government uses taxpayer’s money to facilitate a lifestyle we don’t agree with the comparison is quite valid.

No one is suggesting that someone should live in a particular way, nor applying their particular measure as to the correctness of any behavior. The point is whether the government should play any part whatsoever. The government has no place either enabling nor discouraging a person’s private behavior and no business asking taxpayer’s as a whole to pay for it.