Mabus cel­e­brates gay pride, hits ‘big­ots’ who backed mil­i­tary ban

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - BY ROWAN SCAR­BOR­OUGH

Navy Sec­re­tary Ray Mabus said that pro-mil­i­tary ac­tivists who op­posed lift­ing the ban on gays serv­ing openly in the ranks are just like the big­ots who fought against racial de­seg­re­ga­tion decades ago.

His re­marks came at the Pen­ta­gon’s fifth an­nual pride cel­e­bra­tion hon­or­ing les­bian, gay and bi­sex­ual ser­vice mem­bers, as well as transgender civil­ians.

Mr. Mabus said the ar­gu­ment against lift­ing the ban in 2011 is “ex­actly the same flawed logic as those who had ear­lier op­posed racial in­te­gra­tion or gen­der in­te­gra­tion, claim­ing that poli­cies of in­clu­sion would erode the war fight­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the United States. That’s a sug­ges­tion that is not only an in­sult to the pro­fes­sion­al­ism of our armed forces, but it un­der­mines our core val­ues as ser­vice men and women and as Amer­i­cans.”

Among those who op­posed re­mov­ing the ban were prom­i­nent veter­ans in Congress and suc­ces­sive com­man­dants of the Marine Corps dur­ing the de­bate. The worry was rooted in unit co­he­sion, es­pe­cially among war­riors who de­ploy in in­ti­mate sur­round­ings for months at a time.

“Sec­re­tary Mabus’ name rhymes with clue­less,” said Elaine Donnelly, who di­rects the Cen­ter for Mil­i­tary Readi­ness.

Robert Magin­nis, a re­tired Army of­fi­cer, said: “There is no ge­netic mark­ers for ho­mo­sex­ual pro­cliv­i­ties while skin color is dic­tated by our DNA. In re­cent years the ho­mo­sex­ual lobby used po­lit­i­cal pres­sure and big­oted in­tim­i­da­tion to cower the med­i­cal com­mu­nity into declar­ing their pro­cliv­i­ties ‘nor­mal,’ whereas for­ever un­til the last few years it was con­sid­ered a dis­or­der. Declar­ing such be­hav­ior ‘nor­mal’ may work for the po­lit­i­cal cow­ards in Wash­ing­ton and Hol­ly­wood but fails the straight-face test in mid­dle Amer­ica.”

Mr. Mabus, a for­mer Demo­cratic gov­er­nor of Mis­sis­sippi, has been a strong pro­po­nent of Pres­i­dent Obama’s mil­i­tary so­cial agenda. He has or­dered the words “man” and “men” to be re­moved from job ti­tles. He re­jected the Marine Corps’ con­clu­sion that putting women in di­rect land com­bat units would make them less ef­fec­tive. He also has named war­ships af­ter lib­eral ac­tivists.

In his speech, he told of a gay Navy corps­man he met over­seas at the time of the ban’s re­peal.

“‘I just want to tell you how re­lieved I am,’” he quoted the sailor as say­ing. “‘I’m gay and I just fin­ished my third com­bat de­ploy­ment. And the thing I was wor­ried about the most was not be­ing able to serve.’” “Now, how bad is that?” Mr. Mabus said. Held in the Pen­ta­gon’s large cen­ter court­yard, the 30-minute pride cel­e­bra­tion un­veiled a new event: the hon­or­ing of a civil­ian and mil­i­tary per­son who fought for gay rights.

The first hon­orees were for­mer Rep. Pa­trick J. Mur­phy, un­der sec­re­tary of the Army, and re­tired Navy Adm. Michael Mullen, the for­mer Joint Chiefs of Staff chair­man who emerged in 2010 as a strong pub­lic ad­vo­cate for Congress lift­ing the pro­hi­bi­tion.

Mr. Mullen’s award was ac­cepted by a re­tired Air Force sergeant who lived 23 of his 24 years of ser­vice in the closet and was as­signed to the chair­man’s pro­to­col of­fice at the mo­ment Mr. Obama signed the re­peal.

Mr. Mabus joined a gay Air Force en­listed per­son to cut the cel­e­bra­tory sheet cake. An Army rock band then played Kool and the Gang’s disco hit “Cel­e­bra­tion.”

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