The Illinois Family Institute is Angry at Gay Soldiers for Having Secret Relationships Under DADT

It takes a lot to upset me. Really. But reading through the latest press release from the Illinois Family Institute took me to that place. This is a group that claims to “love” homosexuals, but then does everything in its power to prevent them from having equal rights, adopting children, loving whomever they want to, and even — this was news to me — serving this country.

IFI opposes Don’t Ask Don’t Tell because it’s too progressive for them. They don’t just want gay people to keep their sexuality hidden — they don’t want gay people in relationships to serve in the military at all.

So you can imagine how apoplectic that office must have been when DADT was officially repealed the other day… I’ll admit, though, even I was shocked to see how much hate came out in their statement:

At midnight on September 20, 2011, the repeal of the policy referred to as “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) took effect. At 12:01 a.m. in Vermont, an active duty Navy lieutenant married his partner of eleven years, which means for the past eleven years, this Navy lieutenant has been knowingly violating military policy that prohibits homosexual activity.

To summarize… It wasn’t bad enough that Navy Lieutenant Gary Ross was forced to keep his homosexuality under wraps for over a decade (something straight couples would never have to do). Laurie Higgins is mad because Ross hid his gay relationship when the law was still in place!

What was the alternative, exactly? Live alone and miserable for 11 years? That’s the reward he gets for serving our country and protecting Higgins?

Damned if you do tell, damned if you don’t tell.

Higgins isn’t finished…

How soon will it be before “married” homosexual partners start demanding spousal benefits, such as housing on military bases? Such benefits are currently prohibited by the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, which President Obama’s Department of Justice has said it will no longer defend.

Very soon, I hope. Gay and lesbian partners deserve benefits as much as any other partner does — certainly in states where they’re legally married or in civil unions. Everywhere else, too, if people ever got their acts together and voted for some decent people to lead them. The faster DOMA gets repealed, the better off we’ll all be.

Higgins isn’t done complaining yet.

Supporters of the repeal make the case that since what distinguishes soldiers is their unquestioning commitment to obey orders, this radical change in military policy will have no effect on troop morale or military readiness. Ironically, they simultaneously offer demagogic accounts of homosexual soldiers who have concealed their homosexuality, which constitutes deliberate deception on the parts of soldiers who should never have enlisted in the military. Their primary act of enlisting constituted a violation of Article 125 of the Military Code of Justice and U.S. Code – Section 654 that strictly prohibits those who engage in homosexual acts or those who state that they are homosexual from serving in the military.

In other words, Higgins is blaming the soldiers for having relationships at all, even if they kept their mouths shut about it. She’s criticizing soldiers who voluntarily chose to serve a country that didn’t respect them back… because they were sexually active.

Keep in mind this group genuinely doesn’t understand why anyone would call them bigoted. They honestly believe they’re full of love for homosexuals.

Right…

I can’t deal with the rest of the release. Read it for yourself if you want. And remember this article the next time any Christians tell you they “love” gay people. If they don’t support complete equality — if they don’t support marriage, adoption, open service, equal rights in every single way — they’re part of the problem.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • archiearchive

    Christians have to hate gays. After all, Jesus spent most of his time railing against it. You just have to read the Bible to see that. Umm – Oh! Err – carry on.

    • Anonymous

      Did he ask the Apostles? Did they tell? Did they ask him?

    • Louisquinze

      What – when, where, how?

    • Cas

      That is if you believe the bible to the “T,” which I don’t. I wouldn’t want my kid learning from a 1600′s science book when people were being condemned by believing the earth wasn’t the center of the universe. Teach love, acceptance, and equality…I don’t need to follow a book for that.

  • http://chaoskeptic.blogspot.com Rev. Ouabache

    What part of “Don’t Tell” does she not understand?

    • Observer

      That part where she thinks keeping your sexuality a secret = being straight.

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    Perhaps some artificial life form can be created so that the Christocrats can focus their hate away from the gays.

  • Trina

    Arghhhh.  Just … arghhhh.  I sure wouldn’t want these people to love me. 

    • Tom Coward

      Just a heads up, Trina, I think International Talk Like a Pirate Day was last week.

  • Anonymous

    At 12:01 a.m. in Vermont, an active duty Navy lieutenant married his partner of eleven years, which means for the past eleven years, this Navy lieutenant has been knowingly violating military policy that prohibits homosexual activity.

    FAIL. What does she think DADT was? The law was put in place under the theory that you WERE allowed to be gay just as long as no one found out about it. Celibacy was not a part of this law. The entire idea of DADT was to force gay soldiers to HIDE the fact that they were gay.

    What was the alternative, exactly? Live alone and miserable for 11 years?

    Don’t be silly Hemant. Laurie wouldn’t be happy with that at all. The only option for GLBT folks in her book is to cease to exist. Keep in mind that in their bigoted little minds, gays don’t actually exist, they’re just straight people who want to sin…you know, the way we atheists all know god exists but are happy to buy a first class ticket to Hell so we can sin all we want. These people are nuts, don’t expect normal reasoning.

    How soon will it be before “married” homosexual partners start demanding spousal benefits, such as housing on military bases?

    How soon? It’s started already. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, once they get over their hangovers from the massive parties they just held, are already gearing up for the fight. DOMA hurts soldiers even more than civilians, so there’s plenty of work still to be done. DADT being repealed is awesome, but DOMA is the real beast, the one that hurts the most families.

    But you just keep on keeping one Laurie. Young people are moving away from religion at record rates, and people like you, with your shocking hatred, are a big reason for that. There’s plenty of room for them here in the rationalist tent, right next to all the LGBT people you’ve pushed away from religion as well. You and Fred Phelps are walking, talking ads for atheism, so keep up the good work!

  • http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Joshua Zelinsky

    Right now a large part of me can’t wait to see the repeal of DOMA follow the repeal of DADT not for the obvious issues and justice, morality, and public policy but simply because bigoted jerks like Higgins will have an even more unpleasant time.  This probably makes me a bad person. 

  • Anonymous

    Congratulations Gary Ross.

  • Revyloution

    I don’t hate Christians.  I just hate Christianity.

    Don’t hate the fundie,  hate the fundamentalism.

  • http://www.facebook.com/davidjohnnicholson David Nicholson

    It would be so nice if we could somehow pry the word “family” out of the hands of the religious right. Far too often, especially in the southern US, it seems that the word “family” is just a code word for religion. Substitute “family” with “bible thumping” every time you hear of a family-friendly radio station, a Dove Family Approved movie, or a pro-family organization and you get a better idea of what they are really all about.

    • Anonymous

      So true! Very few families I know resemble what they deem “family friendly” or “family values.”

    • PJB863

      Oddly enough, when I lived in the South, among us LGBT folk, the word “family” was code word for “gay.”  As in, “I didn’t realize you were family” or “is she family?”  I’ve also seen the code word “church member” used.

      • JohnnieCanuck

        Now if only we could get this publicised well enough that they would abandon the word. Wouldn’t really make a difference as they’d just find a substitute, but it would be so much fun to watch them squirm.

  • PJB863

    Laurie and the others at IFI would rant and rave against chocolate cake if was found to be LGBT, or even LGBT friendly. 

    She’s verbose, boorish, and the substance of her writings differ very little from that of Fred Phelps, only the tone is different.

  • Brian Utterback

    She is technically correct. DADT did prohibit actual homosexual acts, but the “Don’t Ask” part meant that a soldier could not be interrogated about it without prior evidence. So Lt. Ross probably did violate the military code.  However, unless he was witnessed, it didn’t matter before and under the new rules does not matter now.

    It reminds me of an statistic I saw once regarding the number of officers who marry members of their command. Since there are rules about officers fraternizing with enlisted soldiers, these officers had been prohibited from dating their future spouses. We must then conclude that either they proposed before their first date, or they violated the rules. Yet these cases are never prosecuted either. No difference that I can see.

  • Anonymous

    All “Don’t ask” meant that recruits weren’t asked when signing up. Prior to DADT you had to sign a statement that you have never had gay sex. The whole thing was misnomer and people fell for it

    It’s true that technically no one could be investigated without “credible evidence”. But that rule was frequently ignored and violations never punished. Especially in the early years. And they were certainly asked during an actual investigation

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    This goes beyond being ignorant or foolish. This is evil, plain and simple. Setting someone up to live a lie and then blaming them for doing  just that is wickedness.

  • http://profiles.google.com/schwabby Aaron Schwab

    I will never, ever — for the life of me — understand why someone would lose sleep over who someone completely unrelated to them fucks. It makes all of less than zero sense.

  • http://twitter.com/apsalartoll apsalartoll

    This might make you feel better and would hopefully make Laurie Higgins spit nails and weep with misery. Marine recruiters at a gay and lesbian community center in Tulsa. 

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/21/us/marine-recruiters-visit-gay-center-in-oklahoma.html?_r=2

  • T-Rex

    Every day my atheism and hatred of all things religious is enforced by hateful, bigoted ass holes like her. Every time I turn around some religious group or person is doing something reprehensible in the  name of their imaginary frined and Dark Age superstitions. What fucked up world/country we live in.

    • Jill

      On behalf of those of us who do NOT believe that the Bible was written by God as a law or history or science text book…  and on behalf of those of us who believe our religion is about RELATIONSHIP and NOT about doctrine or dogma or creeds… and on behalf of those of us who believe that our religion, as Friederich Schleiermacher suggested, is primarily an “intuition for the infinite”…  I apologize for any and all hatred spread in the name of religion.

      • JohnnieCanuck

        I’m not recognising the sect you are speaking on behalf of. It’s certainly not one of the main branches. UU maybe? Some of those are more atheist than not.

  • Anonymous

    What press is Laurie Higgins trying to inject hers and her organization’s name into this time?  Fund raiser?  Needing some sort of attention?

    Give them any opportunity and they will find a way to get their name out there.

    Of course, if there was a way to not report on this without needing a reason to laugh at a person filled with so much hate, then that would be less press for them.

  • Heisenberg

    Hemant, just realize that people like this will never be able to experience the true happiness and joys of life that many of us feel because they have a layer of concrete around their heart.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

    “Love.”

    They keep using that word. I do not think it means what they think it means.

  • Tom Coward

    Hemant, is the IFI still active? I went to their website to post a comment about this, and, surprise surprize, found they don’t have any way to post anything. However, there was almost no content on the site, and the only blog I could find hasn’t been updated since February. Are they just a couple of loons who spread hate as a hobby?

    • PJB863

      They are active.  They post new content of their own about once or twice a week, mostly from Higgins and president David Smith, using content from other right-wing groups to fill the void.  Their blog is dead.  They certainly don’t want anyone posting anything that differs from their ideology.  It’s more than a couple of loons, but it’s still not a huge number.  They are, however, listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

  • Steve

    I actually got as far as sitting in front of the recruiter and pushing the paperwork for and Air Force scholarship back to him, because I just couldn’t sign the big lie (1987 – before DADT). I met all the other criteria and since I was in my early 30′s and it was for medical school, I would have been a career officer; a damned good one.

    When I see people like her spewing this crap, I really wonder how they can accept this poisonous god of theirs?  After all, he is the CREATOR of everything. Not just ‘good’ people like them, but wicked, sinful, evil people like me… I’m not just a gay atheist, I am a left-handed gay atheist! How do they wrap their minds around a god who deliberately creates people so he can curse them and damn them?

    I guess it is too much to hope that when the military doesn’t implode after the repeal, that they will move off to central Antarctica or maybe, Mars?

  • Steve

    I actually got as far as sitting in front of the recruiter and pushing the paperwork for and Air Force scholarship back to him, because I just couldn’t sign the big lie (1987 – before DADT). I met all the other criteria and since I was in my early 30′s and it was for medical school, I would have been a career officer; a damned good one.

    When I see people like her spewing this crap, I really wonder how they can accept this poisonous god of theirs?  After all, he is the CREATOR of everything. Not just ‘good’ people like them, but wicked, sinful, evil people like me… I’m not just a gay atheist, I am a left-handed gay atheist! How do they wrap their minds around a god who deliberately creates people so he can curse them and damn them?

    I guess it is too much to hope that when the military doesn’t implode after the repeal, that they will move off to central Antarctica or maybe, Mars?

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      Go lefties!

    • Debbiedoodaaa

      It’s not God’s fault people are ignorant. People with real faith don’t judge people. They are happy for someone to find true happiness, no matter their sexuality!

    • Anonymous

      I don’t believe in religion, and I’m not entirely convinced on the GOD front. But I do think that if these people are worshiping a God that creates “evil” and would damn charitable, kind, honest people based on something like sexuality, belief or being a member of a certain tax base (my view of all religions) then they are worshiping the wrong God.

    • JohnnieCanuck

      That’s positively sinister and not a little gauche of you, Steve. Has anyone told you your brain is in backwards? I get that a lot, myself.

      I wonder if I could find a Gay Agenda Association around here and take one of their conversion courses or potions or whatever it is they use, just to catch up on the one thing I’m missing.

      Go Left, go Left!

  • Anon

    F*** the bigots, they’re a$$holes. I’m just glad DADT is finally dead, our GBLT brothers and sisters inthe military should never have had to try live a lie.

  • Sue Blue

    These days just about any organization with the word “family” in its name is anything but family-oriented.  Their purpose seems to be nothing but ensuring that as many people as possible are miserable and disenfranchised.  For fuck’s sake – don’t they have anything better to do with their time and money than worry about who’s poking who and whether or not they have official permission for said poking? Aren’t there some real “family” problems they could focus on, like domestic violence, homelessness, poverty, etc., etc.?  I guess these issues are not nearly as earth-shattering as God getting offended by something people do with their naughty bits.   

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      Aren’t there some real “family” problems they could focus on, like domestic violence, homelessness, poverty, etc., etc.?

      Working on problems like those is hard work, often frustrating,  sometimes heart-breaking, and tends to make a person more humble and less proud.

      People like these bigots focus on things to disapprove of because it’s easy, it can be done from a safe distance, and it makes them feel proud and superior.

    • JohnnieCanuck

      When it comes to domestic violence, that’s something they already focus on, more or less.

      Spare the rod, spoil the child is something you’ll hear from Focus on the Family and there’s also the part about the husband disciplining the wife who should submit to him as he submits to God.

  • Anonymous

    according to the UCMJ all sodomy is still and always has been illegal in the military. Where sodomy means any sexual act that is not PIV.  So all oral and anal and whatever other kink you could think of no matter the genders involved.  Pretty sure that hasn’t been enforced with any kind of regularity for straight couples for years – else there would be no one in the military at all I’d wager.

    I just don’t understand how anyone can read the story of the Navy lieutenant react with hate like that.  Its a beautiful and painful story – painful that they had to hide so long, and beautiful that they are finally able to be together.  Sheesh who would want to be on the side of these hateful people? 

    And I really hope that the end of DADT catalyzes the dismantling of DOMA.  And then leads to more widespread civil unions and marriages in other states.  

  • http://erynn999.livejournal.com/ Erynn

    I’m always appreciative of allies out there, wherever I find them. I would, however, like to offer that it isn’t just gays and lesbians who are positively affected by this, but bisexuals as well. Same sex marriage and relationships are not strictly “gay” or “lesbian” because the gender of the two people in the relationship doesn’t determine the sexuality of the people in that relationship. Please don’t leave bi people like myself invisible. We get enough flack from people (“gay” and straight) to “pick a side and stick with it” as it is, if we’re noticed at all.

    Bisexual people exist. We have relationships too. Sometimes we even get married — to people of the same or another gender.

  • Modocrider1

    After reading all of the comments posted here, with the exception of maybe 1 or 2, I don’t see any difference between the way all of you are reacting and the IFI. You’re just as hateful and narrow minded. You claim that Christians don’t know what love is, yet what do you show? It seems that you’re so busy painting with a broad brush every Christian, that you can’t see that not everyone is like that.  But maybe you don’t see the ones who care for dying AIDs patients in hospices, when the patients’ families have deserted them. Maybe you don’t see them getting shelter and food for the homeless. Maybe you don’t see them starting up and running soup kitchens and food pantries, when they themselves have given up much of what many would consider common comforts.  Maybe all you see is what  you want to see.

    • Anonymous

      Christopher Hitchens laid a challenge some years ago: Name one moral or ethical action or behaviour committed or carried out by a believer that could not have been committed or carried out by an atheist.

      Working in a hospice, shelter or soup kitchen aren’t exclusively Christian acts.  I’ve sure that there are lovely Christians who do these humanist things but that doesn’t mark Christianity out as special.

      Also when we react with anger to a group of Christians acting in a bigoted and hateful way and actively trying to deny equal rights to a group of people it is rather silly to claim that our reaction is a summary of all our feelings towards all Christians.  You have to look at the context when making an assessment like this.  Maybe it’s you who is painting with too broad a brush.


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