Rick Perry and the Curious Case of Gay Griping

Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the military's discriminatory ban barring homosexuals from serving openly, was signed out of law a year ago this month. After an exhaustive implementation review by the President, the Joint-Chiefs of Staff, and the Secretary of Defense, it officially ended almost three months ago. What effect has allowing the homos to serve openly in the military had on its strength and readiness? None at all (to no surprise to members of the military, veterans, LGBT folks, and most Americans in general).

But try telling this to Rick Perry, the one-time GOP frontrunner now polling in the single digits. He and (the also-single digit polling) Rick Santorum seem to think demonizing the gays and trying to push them back into the closet in the military, while the armed forces and the rest of America have moved on, could be their salvation.

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Don't Ask, Don't Tell Bites the Dust Today (For Real This Time)

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It's had a long, zombie-like death, but Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the military's policy of barring homosexuals from serving openly, is finally over for real.

If you're confused and thought that this happened already, you've got good reason to be. The judicial, legislative and executive branches of the government have all had their moments of declaring it dead in the past year.

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Chris Geidner of Metro Weekly on LGBT Deportation and Death Taxes (VIDEO)

Over last weekend, Chris Geidner of Metro Weekly did a lot of good reporting about two significant LGBT legal cases. Both show how the Obama administration, which declines to vocally support same-sex marriage, is also quietly and technocratically using the law to bolster it. We chatted on Monday with Geidner about the case of New Yorker Edith Windsor, who is suing the government over a $350,000 estate tax bill following the death of her wife, Thea Spyer. (But for the Defense of Marriage Act, or if her spouse had been a man, Windsor wouldn't have this bill.) When the Department of Justice signaled its support for Windsor's position last week, Geidner wrote, "This is the first time the government stated affirmatively in court that a lawsuit requiring that Section 3 of DOMA be struck down as unconstitutional should succeed."

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The Week Ahead at Runnin' Scared, In Court and Around Town

Michael Premo
Good Monday morning! We've got quite a week ahead around town here at Runnin' Scared, especially in the courts. Here are some of the stories we'll be following closely.

Mary Ward, the 82-year-old facing eviction in Bed Stuy, is scheduled to continue talks with 768 Dean Inc. today. We are told that no marshall is scheduled for today, but could be scheduled as early as tomorrow. Still, Organizing for Occupation has vowed to create another human chain around Ward's home whenever necessary, as they successfully did on Friday, and they're organizing "A Call for Reconciliation & Justice" at Ward's home at 9:00 AM this morning. We will be on Russia Today this evening talking about the story that has captured the imagination of new outlets worldwide. Here's a link to the bankruptcy ruling that led to Ward's eviction.

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Barack Obama Ends Don't Ask, Don't Tell... Again

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President Barack Obama formally certified the end of the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy today, the Human Rights Campaign is reporting. The repeal will take place on September 20th.

The President signed legislation ending the policy in December of last year, but it had to occur after a formal review was signed off by the Pentagon and the White House. That happened today.

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Barack Obama Tries to Reinstate Don't Ask, Don't Tell Yet Again Before Ending It

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Although the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the United States government to immediately halt Don't Ask, Don't Tell, military recruiters across the nation seem to be dragging their feet, and Obama's Justice Department has asked the court for a stay on their order "by the close of business" today. (So, within the next few hours or so.)

Given that the President used a lot of political capital to sign DADT out of law last December, and that he's used that historic occasion as cover for not taking up the other major gay civil rights issue right now, it's as perplexing as ever why he's still fighting this legally.

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Court Orders Immediate Halt to Don't Ask, Don't Tell


The military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy barring gay and lesbian soldiers from serving openly seems to have been dealt a mortal blow yet again. Legally, it was substantially wounded last year when U.S. Judge Virginia Philips issued an injunction and refused to grant a stay during its appeal, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the stay as they reconsidered the case. For some strange legal reason (see our conversation yesterday with Metro Weekly's Chris Geidner) Attorney General Eric Holder chose to appeal Judge Philip's decision, despite the fact his boss President Obama would sign the law out of existence last December.

But here's the thing: that signing ceremony simply set in motion yet another slow death march for DADT that, as of this afternoon, hadn't yet killed it. Nearly seven months later, outgoing Defense Secretary Bob Gates has been preparing to leave his post without certifying DADT's repeal. It's still the law of the land.

The courts, as they began to last year, have said: enough.

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Chris Geidner of Metro Weekly Attempts to Explain Obama's LGBT Legal Reasoning (VIDEO)

Ever confused about just what the Obama administration's legal reasoning is when it comes to LGBT rights? So are we! And when we can't quite make out just what it is Obama is trying to do legally, we often turn to lawyer-journalist Chris Geidner of Metro Weekly and the Poliglot blog.

Geidner says that, convoluted as it may seem, there is a certain legal logic to the administration's approach, which appears to be building towards something. We asked him to explain it in the above video to the Voice audience.

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Erica Díaz, Lesbian Granddaugher of Sen. Ruben Díaz Sr., Talks About Gay Rights

Happy Pride Sunday. As we wrote last week in the Voice feature story "Diaz Family Values," no family more starkly shows where New York has been on same-sex marriage equality and where it is going than the house of Díaz. Senator Reverend Ruben Díaz, Sr. babbled incoherently in front of the world Friday evening, before the Senate rejected his side's dying argument and passed the Marriage Equality Act 33 to 29. After this, it became clearer than ever that Senior's time has passed, and the balance of power in civil rights has shifted in favor of his 22-year-old lesbian granddaughter, Erica Díaz.

Here's a look back at our interview with Erica when she was protesting her grandfather in May. "The New York State Government is not allowing me to exercise my human right to marry the person that I love," Erica said at the time. Now, just two months later, she is free to marry her partner Naomi Torres.

sthrasher@villagevoice.com | @steven_thrasher

Sarah Palin Supports "Homos" in the Military, Or Accidentally Retweeted Tammy Bruce

Sarah Palin's largely indecipherable Twitter account was again shrouded in mystery last night when a cryptic RT of a message from conservative gay comedienne Tammy Bruce showed up in the former governor's feed. "But this hypocrisy is just truly too much. Enuf already--the more someone complains about the homos the more we should look under their bed," [sic] Bruce wrote. And though some Twitter users contend that a retweet does not indicate support, Bruce thinks Palin used the tweet to reveal her position on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," about which she'd previously just said "not right now." Hm?

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