Right Opinion

Air Force Pilots Policy Change on Transgenders

Tony Perkins · Jun. 8, 2015

“Gay Pride Month” is just beginning — but we can’t say the same for the administration’s pandering. In the last seven years, Americans have witnessed an almost perpetual parade of deviance, with the President grand marshalling them all! Now, the government’s rainbow love fest is spilling over into the military, where each branch is racing to out-sexualize the other.

After [Thursday’s] announcement, the Air Force is taking its radicalism to new heights — announcing that it was easing the discharge policy on transgenders in advance of the pride event next Tuesday. (Apparently, we’re now relaxing U.S. security standards in conjunction with P.C. holidays.) The move isn’t a surprise to those familiar with new Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, who was the first service chief to openly lobby for the gender confused to serve. “Times change,” she said in December. “From my point of view, anyone who is capable of accomplishing the job should be able to serve.”

Going where no branch has gone before, the Air Force will let high-ranking officials decide the fate of known transgenders in their ranks. “Though the Air Force policy regarding involuntary separation of gender dysphoric Airmen has not changed, the elevation of decision authority to the director, Air Force Review Boards Agency, ensures the ability to consistently apply the existing policy,” said an Air Force spokesman. “Identification as transgender, absent a record of poor duty performance, misconduct, or a medically qualifying condition, is not a basis for involuntary separation.”

For the first time, a medical diagnosis alone won’t trigger a service member’s discharge — superiors will. “There must be a commander determination that the condition interferes with duty requirements,” the Air Force pointed out. In other words, branch leaders can opt to keep open transgenders in their units — despite the fact that it violates military policy and U.S. law.

By putting the decision in commanders’ laps, the entire process becomes more politicized — where before, it was a simple medical determination. And you can bet that in a sexually-charged environment like the Obama military, the pressure to keep people with gender disorders will be enormous. It will be far tougher for commanders to discharge transgender troops, particularly when the head of your branch is an open advocate for keeping them.

Then, of course, there’s the commander-in-chief, who reiterated his support for this congressional end-run through White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz. “Generally speaking, the President certainly agrees with the sentiment that all who are qualified to serve should be able to serve.”

Unfortunately, the President has “certainly agreed” with any LGBT sentiment that undermines marriage, free speech, public health, religious liberty, and now national security. Let’s not forget — transgenderism is at its root a serious mental disorder (one classified as such — not just by Johns Hopkins — but the military’s own Defense Department!). If these men and women are confused about their gender, what’s to keep them from being confused about their mission? With the world falling to pieces and the margin of error so slight, can we really afford these distractions? By letting people create their own realities, Washington is losing its grip on its own.

You Ain’t Shaheen Nothing Yet!

There may be a consensus in the courts for same-sex “marriage,” but not Congress. In a quiet — but significant — vote, the Senate made it clear that the legislative branch understands exactly where the people stand on marriage — and it isn’t where the Left would have you believe. During yesterday’s vote on the National Defense Authorization Act, the upper chamber took an important step to protect states by blocking an amendment that would have extended gay spousal benefits to veteran couples living in states that haven’t redefined marriage. This is an enormous victory, since it was the first time Congress signaled to the Supreme Court where it stands on benefits for same-sex couples who are living in states that don’t recognize their marriages.

As part of the Defense debate, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) had been trying for months to leapfrog the Court’s decision and invent benefits that — to this point — are still unconstitutional. Essentially, the measure would have let the government bypass states that don’t recognize same-sex couples as “married” and force them to dole out benefits their own laws reject. At least for now, the President’s party has been stopped from tearing down the last two federal holdouts that respect state marriage laws: the social security and veterans’ administrations. Unlike other departments, these agencies have consistently recognized marriage for couples based on the state where they live — not the state where they “married.”

Although the vote failed 53-42, there were a number of Republicans who were quite comfortable undermining marriage law — including some who campaigned to uphold the unions: Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Ron Johnson (Wisc.), and Rob Portman (Ohio). Not a single GOP presidential candidate sided against marriage, and at least two Republicans changed their vote from a similar measure in March and did the right thing this time around: Senators Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.). Take a minute to find out how your senators voted and let them know you’re paying attention by contacting them!


This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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