Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva (Ret.) was the first American wounded in the war in Iraq when, on March 21, 2003, while traveling to Basra, he stepped on a land mine. In 2006, Sgt. Alva began working with the Human Rights Campaign, the “largest” LGBT Rights organization, to speak out against the military’s now (but likely temporarily) halted “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy (DADT). He now tours nationally for the organization and continues to lecture about DADT.
On Friday, October 15, 2010, just days after a Federal Judge ordered an injunction against enforcement of the unconstitutional policy, the Gay and Lesbian Association of San Antonio College hosted a lecture by Sgt. Alva as part of their Coming Out Week events.
Sgt. Alva began his lecture by discussing his tenure in the military and its abrupt and tragic end, with the triggering of the land mine. He went on to explain that, after his medical discharge, he contacted the HRC to find out how he can work with them to educate and inspire a repeal of DADT. Not only did his lecture included his personal experiences working toward a repeal, but he also used the opportunity to address the division within the LGBT community, stating that he never refers to us as a “community,” but instead prefers to refer to us as a “populace” because of our varied lifestyles, opinions, culture, etc.
It is very likely that the Department of Justice will appeal the lower court’s decision to the 9th circuit in an effort to halt a judicial repeal of the policy. If such appeal is perfected, it means that the Obama Administration is attempting to keep the policy in place, rather than repeal it as has been stated by Obama to be his goal. You can read more about that issue, here, including discussion of other cases which were not appealed by the justice department.
Sgt. Alva, in addressing the recent injunction, Obama’s appeal of the decision and the fact that Obama has continued to refuse to sign an executive order ending the policy, stated, “I do not want Obama to sign an executive order, ending don’t ask, don’t tell.” He went on to explain that, if the president chose to end the policy it would put an end to the discussions; discussions he believes are important in light of the recent and highly publicized LGBT youth suicides.
DADT has been the policy of the United States Military for approximately 17 years. Prior to implementation of the policy, the military’s policy was simply, you can’t serve if you’re gay.
- “Justice Dept Asks for Stay of Injunction on DADT, Declares Intent to Appeal” and related posts (boxturtlebulletin.com)
- Where things stand with DADT (washingtonmonthly.com)
- Aaron Belkin: Mr. President: Please Let DADT Die (huffingtonpost.com)
- “Obama DoJ asks judge to set aside DADT moratorium — and the Professional Left is again supposed to eat it” and related posts (downwithtyranny.blogspot.com)
- Judge Issues DADT Injunction [Dispatches from the Culture Wars] (scienceblogs.com)