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Don't: A Reader's Guide to the Military's Anti-Gay Policy (Public Planet…
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0822323176, Paperback)Janet Halley provides a close reading and provocative history of the 1993 revisions to the U.S. military's antigay policy. Possibly most shocking is Halley's account of how Congress and the Department of Defense rebuffed the Clinton administration's attempted compromise policy based on a status/action distinction. Halley shows how the status/action distinction has completely collapsed; self-identification as gay is taken to indicate a propensity to engage in gay acts--and consequently as equal grounds for discharge.
Ironically, as Halley notes, the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund itself had "argued that sodomy was a necessary element of gay life" in an amicus brief in Bowers v. Hardwick, the landmark 1986 Supreme Court decision denying privacy protection to homosexual sex. Hardwick is at the heart of Halley's argument; as many have noted, the Georgia statute in question applied to all acts of sodomy, both heterosexual and homosexual. The Supreme Court, however, directed its opinion only at homosexual sodomy and, as Halley puts it, "in their hands, sodomy and homosexual persons became metonyms of one another," establishing the foundation for the military's misnamed "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
This is a dense, thought-provoking little book, certainly worth looking at for anyone interested in the legal and political aspects of the issue of gays in the military. Ultimately, her analysis suggests, political and intellectual bad faith have resulted in an unconstitutional policy that exposes all military personnel (not just homosexuals) to intense sexual scrutiny and restricts both their speech and acts. --Julia Riches
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 18 Feb 2013 05:09:32 -0500)
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Two editions of this book were published by Duke University Press.
Editions: 0822323176, 0822322854
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