September 19th, 2011
Today is the last day in which the military ban on gays serving openly, known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in its latest incarnation, remains the law of the land. Which means that today marks the very last day in which the U.S. Government can legally initiate an active investigation into the private lives of gay citizens solely to determine whether they should be formally sanctioned. Tomorrow’s formal elimination of DADT marks a very important legal milestone in U.S. history, when the the federal government’s last legal active pursuit against gay people comes to an end.
Regular BTB readers who have been following our historical items in the Daily Agenda will remember that sixty years ago, there were active campaigns to root out homosexuals from all branches of the federal government solely because of their homosexuality. In 1953, that campaign culminated in President Dwight D. Eisenhower signing Executive Order 10450 which formalized the federal employment ban. By then, the U.S. military had long searched out homosexuals from among their ranks, and when they were found, they were often sent to mental hospitals or the brig. Either way, virtually all of them would wind up with a dishonorable discharge which, in the days when military service was universal, made finding a job afterward extremely difficult. Beginning in 1952, gay people were formally prohibited from entering the country under a legal provision barring “aliens afflicted with psychopathic personality, epilepsy, or a mental defect.” That languages was interpreted to include gay people, an interpretation which remained in effect until 1990 even though the American Psychiatric Association declared that homosexuality was not a mental defect in 1973. Altogether, these legal requirements mandated thousands of active investigations into the private lives of thousands of citizens in order to impose legal sanctions.
And all of this was against a backdrop in which homosexuality was a criminal offense in every state in the until 1961, when Illinois overhauled its statutes and dropped its anti-sodomy law. Illinois would remain alone in that regard until 1970, when other states slowly began to drop their anti-gay statutes. After a series of lawsuits and demonstrations, the U.S. civil service began hiring gay people in 1975. By the 1990s, most federal investigative services charged with the granting of security clearances no longer considered sexual orientation a barrier to holding clearances, and President Clinton’s 1995 executive order brought the rest of the security investigative services in line. In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down those anti-sodomy laws which still remained on the books. With those cumulative acts, U.S. civilians were finally free from legally mandated investigations to determine their eligibility for legal sanction. No U.S., state, or local law enforcement agency could launch an investigation into the private romantic life of a U.S. citizen solely to determine whether that citizen should be legally penalized because of it.
Sure, the law didn’t (and still doesn’t) provide for full equality for gays and lesbians: we can’t marry in most states, it is still legal for employers to fire someone solely because of his or her sexuality, and LGBT couples face various other enormous tax and other financial inequalities under the law. But these are consequences of legal indifference, not the products of active and hostile pursuit. Where law enforcement investigations designed solely to determine one’s sexual orientation were legally mandated and often played out in the front pages of newspapers and the evening news, today we have a whole generation for whom such a scenario is unthinkable — with one glaring exception. Gays and lesbians serving in the military still operate under a McCarthyite prohibition based solely on their private lives. But today is the last day of that official, legal federal obsession with the love lives of Americans. Tomorrow we enter a new era. For the first time in our nation’s history, no gay American will be found guilty for loving someone. We’re still far from equal in the eyes of the law, but beginning tomorrow we are, at long last, fully free.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.