Nov 13, 2010 Comments Off
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) has been ruled unconstitutional by the United States legal system. If the ruling is upheld then all discriminatory laws written to persecute Gay and Lesbian Americans are suspect and would soon be overturned.
A great windfall for Gays and Lesbians but politically damaging to both the Democratic and Republican parties.
The Democratic Party looses a dedicated voting demographic representing nearly 10% of the population that contributes heavily to local and national campaigns. Gay and Lesbian Americans have historically supported Democratic Party candidates who claim to back equality.
The Republican Party looses an effective wedge issue that guarantees christian conservative turnout and energizes the “values” voter. The “traditional” marriage movement has done more to drive the christian conservative base than any discussion of big government or fiscal responsibility.
As far as the political parties are concerned a court decision supporting Gay and Lesbian equality is the worst possible outcome. Both parties have a vested interest in maintaining this valued wedge and will do anything they can to stop the Supreme Court from ruling on this issue. This is the reason for the Obama Administration’s aggressive defense of the DADT policy…a policy the President claims to abhor.
The Supreme Court’s order included no explanation, so it’s sensible to look for that in the Justice Department filing that urged the court to rule as it did. Repeatedly, it mentioned repeal of the law by Congress and the process under way in the executive branch laying the groundwork for that. It said the wrong way to overturn the law is by “judicial invalidation” and the right way is by “repeal of an act of Congress by Congress itself.”
But as far as the Gay and Lesbian community is concerned a Supreme Court ruling upholding the unconstitutionality of DADT is the quickest, easiest and cheapest path to full equality.
Here is how America’s checks and balance system works. If a law passed by Congress is unconstitutional the Court system strikes down the law. This method has worked well for over 200 years.
Here is how it applies to DADT. If the Court ruling against DADT is upheld as unconstitutional by the 9th District then U.S. Supreme Court the law is struck down never to return. Additionally it would establish a precedence that government cannot discriminate against Gay and Lesbian Americans.
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) would quickly be held discriminatory and unconstitutional as would any state amendments defining “traditional” marriage as the norm. It would follow that employment discrimination against Gays and Lesbians would also be unacceptable.
Politically, a valued wedge issue disappears and Gay and Lesbian Americans are free to support the party of their choice.
On the other hand if DADT is repealed by an act of Congress it only effects DADT and can be reinstated by another act of Congress thus maintaining the wedge.
If, and this is a big if, the Senate votes to repeal DADT you will immediately see the Democratic Party demanding Gay and Lesbian support or else the Republicans will reinstate the policy. The Republicans Party will demand christian voters help take the Senate so they can push a new anti-Gay military policy and save America from immorality.
In other words politics continue as usual with Gay and Lesbian rights held hostage.