James Joyner doesn't defend the law, but he does defend the Pentagon in this case: "The military is simply following the law, ousting service members who make it publicly manifest that they are gay." That's a fair statement. That is, it would be a fair statement if it were true in the case at hand. Here's what happened to former Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Stephen Benjamin:
He said he was among about 70 people investigated at Fort Gordon in Georgia for using the computer to send personal notes. He said others who are not gay kept their jobs even though they were caught sending sexual and profane messages.So Benjamin wasn't making it "publicly manifest" at all. Publicly, he was keeping a low-enough profile that nobody had ever hassled him before. Rather, he was fired for writing explicitly private emails that could have quite easily been ignored. Benjamin could have received the same administrative punishment as everyone else.
Benjamin said investigators from the Defense Department's inspector general's office pulled the message logs for one day and reviewed them for violations. Some people, he said, received administrative punishments for writing dirty jokes, profanity and explicit sexual references.
But we're quibbling, I suppose. James and I both agree (I think) that the rule against gay service members ought to be consigned to the dustbin so that nitpicking like this is unnecessary. Obviously the military could help by recommending that the ban be ended. Conservatives could help by recognizing that a strong military is more important than keeping James Dobson happy. And even if they won't do that and they won't, since the culture war is still more important to them than real war then Democrats could simply vote to end the ban. So far, though, we're only up to 124 House members in favor. We've got another hundred to go.