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Gay Rights in the Military - Essay Example

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and number) Gay Rights in the Military Introduction The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy of former President Bill Clinton caused gays in the military to be discharged and deprived of service benefits…
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Gay Rights in the Military
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(Teacher’s and number) Gay Rights in the Military Introduction The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy of former President Bill Clinton caused gays in the military to be discharged and deprived of service benefits. Last year, the US Congress passed a measure repealing this policy, and President Barack Obama signed the measure into law last December 2010 (Montopoli, n.p.). Full implementation of the law is expected soon. This paper seeks to examine arguments which may or may not justify the right of gays, as well as lesbians, to openly reveal their sexual orientation without reprisal from the military establishment. The views of Aristotle and Immanuel Kant shall be examined, followed by a presentation of a justifiable position on the issue. Ethical views of Aristotle Aristotle was a student of Plato for no less than about twenty years. He proved to be a genius, observed by his great teacher to be no intelligence personified. Today Aristotle is considered as the forerunner of science, having laid the philosophical foundation for such fields of knowledge as Logic, Biology, Natural Science, Politics and Ethics. On Ethics, Aristotle conceived of human nature as sound, man taking a natural path to attain happiness or GAY RIGHTS IN THE MILITARY excellence. On the issue of sexuality, Aristotle’s Law of Libido regarded the sexual instinct to be natural, even as same sex attraction is logical or reasonable. Aristotle’s acceptance of the biological forces that drive human sexuality has also justified his benign regard for his student, Alexander, son of the King of Macedonia later to be the greatest conqueror the world of his days. Not escaping public scrutiny was Alexander’s love affinity with at least two men-- Hapheaston, a Macedonian noble, and Bagras, a court eunuch. At the same time, Greeks admitted same-sex practices, especially in the regions of Elis and Borotia, where same-sex relationships were viewed to be part of excellence in character among men. In fact, an army of same-sex lovers in a regiment of 500 gay soldiers, known as the Sacred Bank of Thebes, gained great renown for their courageous exploits in war (Standford). The Ethics of Immanuel Kant Prior to the days of Immanuel Kant, the Age of Reason had paved the way for reason without religion. Among rationalist philosophers, John Locke could not accept innate ideas, such as of God, since for him nothing is in the mind except through the senses. Meanwhile, David Hume ushered in philosophical scepticism when he taught that truth cannot be established at all. Reacting to these philosophical theories, Kant tried to re-establish transcendental reality and truth. In his Critique of Pure Reason, he argued that truth arises due to the inherent nature and structure of the mind. Meanwhile, the senses are not the be-all of knowledge since these merely contribute stimulus, which turn into perceptions and thoughts after being organized by the mind. Science therefore is organized knowledge, while wisdom is organized living. In his Critique of Practical Reason, Kant posed the existence of innate GAY RIGHTS IN THE MILITARY principles of morality in the mind. For him a categorical imperative is the seat of man’s inner sense of duty-- the moral law. Even religion is based on practical reason, and so “any Bible or revelation must be judged by its value for morality, and cannot be the judge of a moral code” (Durant, p. 279-280). This makes Churches and religious doctrines subject to the moral standards and norms of the people. Philosophical-Historical Analysis Aristotle’s Ethics, as well as his natural philosophy, views sexual orientation to be part of the rich diversity of biological and human life. This agrees with Greek culture which accepts sexuality as part of nature’s fabric. Among Greeks, same-sex attraction is even recognized among fighting men. Following the Age of Reason, Kant criticized religion, which is the radical cause for oppression and injustice done to homosexuals. The Jewish faith condemned homosexuality which is rooted in the Bible story of Sodom and Gomorrah, where bestial sexuality or sodomy was practiced. With the advent of Christianity, the condemnation against sodomy led to countless persecutions and death of those who practiced Sodomy and other forms of homosexuality. The Napoleonic era decriminalized sodomy, but oppressive state-and-church laws soon surfaced anew treating homosexuality as a pathological disease. However, the 20th century opened the way for redefining the attitude towards homosexuality after the Psychological Association removed it from the listing of mental disorders. In the 1960s, the Gay Liberation Movement was born and Western Europe gave civic equality to gays and lesbians. Modern democracies also allowed gays and lesbians to serve in the military without any need for secrecy about their sexual orientation. GAY RIGHTS IN THE MILITARY Among these countries are Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, Thailand and the United Kingdom. On June 26, 2003, the US Supreme Court struck down the Texas same-sex sodomy law. It ruled that “private sexual conduct is protected by the liberty rights implicit in the due process clause of the US Constitution” (Supreme Court). In 2010, the US Congress approved a measure repealing the gay-secrecy policy in the military establishment. And last July 21, 2011, President Obama certified this congressional measure, setting complete repeal of the gay-secrecy policy on September 21, 2011 (Montopoli, n.p.). Conclusion For Aristotle, sexual orientations fall within the rich variety of biological forms and structures of nature. Having an orientation to be gay or lesbian is therefore natural, not by itself sinful, immoral, or criminal. By attacking religious repression, Kant has also affirmed the morality of natural endowments of man. It may also be argued that sodomy and other sexual crimes (rape, rape with murder, sexual abuse of children, etc.) can be committed not solely by homosexuals but by any criminally-bent male or female. Fortunately with President Obama’s certifying congressional repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Can’t Tell” policy, openness on sexual orientations will now be the rule in the military establishment beginning September this year. The new law has ushered in a social revolution, but it will be up to the soldiers and officers of whatever sexual orientation to prove that they are truly deserving of the trust given them to be professional and honourable soldiers in the US military establishment. GAY RIGHTS IN THE MILITARY Works Cited Dober. Homosexuality. Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Web. 15 Jul. 2011. Durant, Will (1986). The Story of Philosophy. New York: Washington Square Press. Montopoli, B. (2011). Obama Certifies “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tel” Repeal. CBS News. Web. 24 Jul. 11 Supreme Court. Lawrence V. Texas 539 US 558 (2003). Web. 18 Jul.11. Read More
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