In spite of the long-standing law forbidding members of the military from homosexual behavior, political correctness has permeated pockets of the armed services, turning a blind eye to overt violations of the law
-- From "More tolerance for gay troops as end of 'don't ask, don't tell' is debated" by Ernesto Londoño, Washington Post 2/10/10
A younger and more liberal corps of commanders and soldiers has given rise to bubbles of tolerance in today's military, an institution that soldiers describe as still largely unwelcoming and wary of gays, according to interviews with more than a dozen enlisted troops and officers, both gay and straight.
Underground gay communities have emerged at bases across the United States and even in war zones. In Iraq, one e-mail group maintained by gay troops includes a database where soldiers post their instant-messaging screen names and the base where they're stationed. Dozens have profiles on gay dating sites, some posing in uniform.
In recent years, service members and researchers say, a growing number of gay troops have disclosed their sexual orientation to supervisors and comrades. They say they are buoyed by a sense that wartime commanders are increasingly reluctant to lose skilled troops to a ban many now view as archaic.
Other officers disagree. They argue that lifting the ban could demoralize an institution strained by two ongoing wars and the toll of nearly a decade of combat. Openly gay soldiers could weaken unit cohesion and present logistical and moral dilemmas for commanders, supporters of the ban said.
"Due to the nature of what soldiers do, we discriminate against the too young, the too old, the infirm, the overweight, the physically unfit and women," said a senior commander who has served in Iraq, speaking on the condition of anonymity to argue against the administration's position. "Discrimination against homosexuals is no different."
Adjusting to new policies to accommodate openly gay soldiers could become a distraction for commanders, he said.
In the eight years before the United States went to war in Afghanistan, at least 7,989 service members were discharged because of the ban. That number dropped noticeably after the U.S.-led intervention in 2002; since then, 5,400 service members have been discharged for being gay.
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Also, read news of push to rescind ban on homosexual behavior in the military.