Tuesday, October 18, 2011

DOMA, Regulations, and the Marines

With the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, military personnel who are gay no longer need worry about be thrown out of the military simply because of their sexual orientation.

But, by no means, are they allowed to the be treated equally. That would be too much for conservatives who firmly believe that gays have lesser rights. This discrepancy in treatment lead three Marines to try to come up with their own solution to government-mandated bigotry.

Under Marine regulations, individuals stationed at Camp Pendleton, who are married, are given a housing allowance as part of their pay packet. This is meant to allow the Marine to live with his or her spouse off-base. ONLY married Marines are allowed to live off-base. Cpl. Ashley Vice, wanted to live with her spouse Jaime Murphy. But the couple was forced to live apart because of the double-whammy of Mormon sponsored Prop 8 and DOMA. First, Prop 8 stripped gay couples in California of the legal right to enter marriage contracts, reinstating government regulations which had said that these contracts were reserved for heterosexual couples only—California had previously abolished regulations restricting marriage rights on the basis of race. Second, under the DOMA regulations the Marines would be forced to disregard any legal same-sex marriage. So, if Vice and Murphy flew to a state that deregulated marriage to allow same-sex couples equal rights, the Marines would still be required by federal regulation to pretend that the couple were NOT legally married.

Now, conservatives told us that military personnel, who will stand up to terrorists, tanks and bombs, are terrified of gay people. They predicted that personnel would flee the military in fear of gays, assuming that the young people in the military hold all the prejudices that old, conservatives hold. Apparently that isn't the case.

Two male Marines, Cpl. Jeremiah Griffin and Cpl. Joseph Garner, learning of the plight of the women agreed to marry them and then use the housing benefits to allow the two women to live together. For this, all three are being given bad-conduct discharges.

One of the things that law and order conservatives are incapable of comprehending is that when regulations restrict the choices of people the law forces people into making choices that are not legal. This is one of the detrimental effects of over-regulation. Now, conservatives whine about over-regulation all the time, but they don't mean it. They don't see how the regulations they support impact groups they hate: such as gay people and immigrants. So, they create a web of regulations, such as DOMA and Prop 8, which are meant to restrict the freedom of choice of groups they target for disparate treatment. The regulatory maze that they impose then leaves the targeted groups fewer choices than they leave white, heterosexual conservatives. This forces the groups who are targeted to take recourses that violate the law, because conservatives have closed off legal options intentionally. Then, these "small government" conservatives crow that they don't really hate immigrants, or hate gay people, they just want them to follow the law. You get this in the conservative whine that they don't oppose immigration, they just want legal immigration even as they work to make the latter nigh unto impossible for most immigrants.

DOMA and Prop 8 show how conservatives lie. They don't want deregulation, and small government. They want a maze of regulations that only apply to groups they really do hate. Both these Big Government sets of regulations strip freedom of choice from some people while living it intact for those conservatives favor. And, as long as legal options are forbidden, illegal options will prevail. In this case, the military lost three recruits, who otherwise were considered good officers. How many hundreds of thousands of dollars were just flushed down the toilet because of DOMA and Prop 8 in just this one case?

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