"By hook or by crook" might be the new
catchphrase for social conservatives bent on keeping gays and
lesbians out of the armed forces, after the revelation of several
communications that discuss an anti-gay deception scheme.
On Wednesday, the Palm Center, a think
tank at the University of California, Santa Barbara, announced they
had obtained an email exchange that plotted ways to turn military
leaders against gays serving in the military.
In an email exchange between Colleen
Holmes, director of the anti-gay political group Eagle Forum, and
possible recipient Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for
Military Readiness (CMR), a group dedicated to opposing women and
gays in the military, Holmes suggests concocting a smear campaign
against gays to ensure they are not granted open military service.
The email encourages the use of “horror
stories” as a tactic to reverse the tide of pro-gay sentiment being
expressed by many high-ranking military and Congressional leaders.
In a July 7th statement, more than 50 retired U.S.
Generals and Admirals urged Congress to allow open gay service ahead
of a hearing on the subject.
Holmes admits that finding such stories
would be difficult, but promises they would be an effective tool in
the culture war against gays and lesbians. She suggests a need to
fight the “'Will and Grace' effect” that works to “manipulate
and flat-out-bully many Americans away from taking any position
indicating that homosexuality is wrong.”
Pro-gay group Parents, Families and
Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) revealed on Monday they had
acquired a letter from Donnelly that mirrored Holmes' concerns. That
letter was dispatched to high-level leaders at prominent veteran
services organizations and called for a Thursday meeting to discuss
“I hope I can count on you in joining
CMR to defend the law regarding homosexual conduct in the military,”
Donnelly wrote. “We need to talk about what can be done, and why,
face to face. ... Right now the other side appears poised to win.”
PFLAG's Director of Communications
Steve Ralls told us: “Her [Donnelly's] campaign is one rooted in
disrespect for our men and women in uniform. No wonder Ms. Donnelly
is trying to operate under a cloak of secrecy. The American people
would be appalled to learn what she is really spending her time on.”
Donnelly gave testimony in July at a
Congressional hearing to discussing repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't
Tell” – the military's policy that bars gays and lesbians from
serving openly in the armed forces – where she told lawmakers that
she disagreed with the policy because it allows gays to serve so long
as they remain closeted and would prefer an outright ban.
At the hearing, Donnelly's testimony
portrayed gays as wanton and predatory. “If we say forced
cohabitation is the new rule and we're saying that if you don't like
the way you feel, then just relax and enjoy it. Or tolerate it. Is
that fair?” Donnelly asked Freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy
Nathaniel Frank, a senior research
fellow at the Palm Center and author of the forthcoming book
Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and
Weakens America, who had access to the Holmes email, said it
revealed the hollow nature of the group's arguments.
“This correspondence lays bare the
real motivations behind opposition to gay service,” Frank said.
“As Holmes states, her objective is to tar homosexuality as
'wrong', whereas the impact of gay service on national security is a
secondary concern. In fact, it's only referenced as a PR scheme to
lend legitimacy to her moral crusade.”
“Gays are literally dying for their
country, and the religious right is scheming about ways to vilify
them and remove them from service,” Frank said.
On the net: PFLAG's blog is at
The Palm Center website is at www.palmcenter.org.