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32 posts from September 2011

September 30, 2011

Serbian government threatens to cancel Belgrade Pride

UPDATE: The parade was banned.

As foreseen, an lgbt pride march scheduled for Sunday in Belgrade is in jeopardy of being canceled by government officials who say they cannnot guarantee the safety of participants.  From Irish Times:

Serbian authorities may ban Sunday's gay rights parade in Belgrade and all other public gatherings this weekend, fearing a replay of the violence at last year's parade, officials said today. Gay and human rights activists plan to gather in a park on Sunday and then march past government buildings. Ultranationalist groups have said they will stage a counter-rally.

More than 100 policemen were injured last year and dozens of ultranationalists arrested after trying to disrupt the parade. Rioters attacked offices of the ruling coalition parties, set ablaze the headquarters of the Democratic Party of president Boris Tadic, and did millions of dollars' worth of damage in the capital.

Interior minister Ivica Dacic, who heads the ruling Socialists, said the gay pride event posed a major security risk for ordinary people, property and police. "I would rather take the political responsibility for banning the event than see bloodshed," Mr Dacic said in a TV broadcast. He said as many as 5,000 security personnel, including anti-riot units, plainclothes agents and mounted police would be needed to secure the event. Belgrade mayor Dragan Djilas [also] called for it to be cancelled.

Goran Miletic, a human rights activist and one of the organisers of the parade, said a ban would be a capitulation to intolerance. "Violence is not normal. What is normal in a democratic country is to have people rallying peacefully for a couple of hours," he said.

September 29, 2011

Ninth Circuit panel unanimously finds challenge to DADT moot; lower court opinion vacated

A Ninth Circuit panel shot down attempts to keep Log Cabin Republicans v. Panetta alive, ruling that the repeal of DADT has mooted the case challenging the law's constitutionality. This means that service members who have claims stemming from past discharges, such as those regarding benefits or re-enlistment, will have to bring separate cases. In and of itself, this is not of great legal significance; at least one group already has such a case pending in the Court of Federal Claims, and others can be filed in the future (depending in part on the outcome in the Court of Claims case).

More stinging was the Ninth Circuit's decision to vacate the District Court opinion issued in 2010 that had found DADT to be unconstitutional. The Court of Appeals order to vacate erases the trial court decision, so that as a matter of law, it is as if there never was a federal court decision finding DADT to be unconstitutional. This also means that the earlier decision is unuseable as precedent when individuals seek relief for past discharges.  No mincing of words here:

Because Log Cabin has stated its intention to use the district court’s judgment collaterally, we will be clear: It may not. Nor may its members or anyone else. We vacate the district court’s judgment, injunction, opinions, orders, and factual findings — indeed, all of its past rulings — to clear the path completely for any future litigation. Those now-void legal rulings and factual findings have no precedential, preclusive, or binding effect. The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell provides Log Cabin with all it sought and may have had standing to obtain.

Having (emphatically) found the case moot, the panel did not reach the question of whether DADT was constitutional. One member did, however. Judge O'Scannlain, known as a conservative member of the court, filed a separate opinion declaring that he would uphold the constitutionality of DADT. Judge O'Scannlain attacked the District Court's reasoning that DADT burdened a fundamental right to private sexual conduct recognized in Lawrence v. Texas.

Lawrence does not establish that a member of the armed forces has a constitutionally protected right to engage in homosexual acts or to state that he or she is a homosexual while continuing to serve in the military...Lawrence did not establish any fundamental right - let alone any right relevant to the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy in the military.

Judge O'Scannlain then went on to accuse District Court Judge Virginia Phillips of having ignored established law in reaching her decision. In other words, even though the case was already and unanimously found to be moot, he went out of his way not only to blast the plaintiff's argument but also to call into question the trial judge's integrity. That's intense.

After the decision came down, lawyers for LCR issued a statement saying that they would seek rehearing en banc.

Rape statistics based on 80-year old definition of the crime

From the NY Times:

Thousands of sexual assaults that occur in the United States every year are not reflected in the federal government’s yearly crime report because the report uses an archaic definition of rape that is far narrower than the definitions used by most police departments...

Many law enforcement officials and advocates for women say that this underreporting misleads the public about the prevalence of rape and results in fewer federal, state and local resources being devoted to catching rapists and helping rape victims. Rape crisis centers are among groups that cite the federal figures in applying for private and public financing...
According to the 2010 Uniform Crime Report, released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation last week, there were 84,767 sexual assaults in the United States last year, a 5 percent drop from 2009. 

The definition of rape used by the F.B.I. — “the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will” — was written more than 80 years ago... But that definition, critics say, does not take into account sexual-assault cases that involve anal or oral penetration or penetration with an object, cases where the victims were drugged or under the influence of alcohol or cases with male victims. As a result, many sexual assaults are not counted as rapes in the yearly federal accounting...

Steve Anderson, chief of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, said that the F.B.I.’s definition created a double standard for police departments. “We prosecute by one criteria, but we report by another criteria,” Chief Anderson said. “The only people who have a true picture of what’s going on are the people in the sex-crimes unit.”

In Chicago, the Police Department recorded close to 1,400 sexual assaults in 2010, according to the department’s Web site. But none of these appeared in the federal crime report because Chicago’s broader definition of rape is not accepted by the F.B.I...

September 28, 2011

Arizona seeks rehearing en banc in Ninth Circuit benefits case

The state of Arizona has filed a Petition for Rehearing En Banc in Diaz v. Brewer, the Lambda challenge to an Arizona law that eliminated partner benefits for state employees. In my view, it's a sleeper of a case - one that appears to raise a fairly narrow issue, but which could have important ramifications.

The state's lead argument is that the Ninth Circuit panel improperly affirmed a preliminary injunction blocking a facially neutral law (benefits were eliminated for different-sex as well as same-sex employees) despite the absence of evidence that state lawmakers intended to discriminate against gay couples. This runs counter to a series of court decisions requiring that facially neutral laws be upheld under the Equal Protection Clause unless plaintiffs can show that there was discriminatory intent. The state also cites a string of cases applying that principle to uphold policies in other states that limited benefits to married couples. None is a federal court decision, however, and none are binding on the Ninth Circuit.

There are several problems with this analysis. Most obviously, the question of whether the Arizona law is truly neutral depends on how superficial the test for neutrality is found to be.  Arizona law forbids recognition of same-sex marriage, so only different-sex couples have the option to marry to get the benefits. (Whether this should be considered impermissibly coercive is a different point.) While both sets of couples are affected by the elimination of benefits, neutrality should be determined against the backdrop of the ban on gay marriage.

Additionally, the case is still at the preliminary injunction stage.  As a threshold requirement for issuing the preliminary injunction, the district court found, and the court of appeals affirmed, that plaintiffs had demonstrated a likelihood of success. However, there has been no final determination on the merits and no permanent injunction. Realistically there may not be much more evidence submitted by either side if the case returns to the trial court, but there nonetheless could be a fuller analysis of the merits and, especially and most intriguingly, of the meaning of facial neutrality in this context.

Census Bureau on same-sex couple households: Read the data, see the movie

The Census Bureau has issued a correction in the numbers of same-sex spouses and same-sex unmarried partners, revising the estimated numbers in the two categories down from 349,377 to 131,729, and from 552,620 to 514,735, respectively. Williams Institute Distinguished Scholar Gary Gates, together with other demographers, concurred in the revision. (Full statement after the jump)

That makes a revised total of 646,464 gay couples, up from the 2000 Census number of 594,391. (Because the Census counts the population by households, there is no figure for the number of unpartnered lgbt people.)

What's really amazing is that the Bureau produced this videotape to explain how the initial overcounting errors occurred.

    

Continue reading "Census Bureau on same-sex couple households: Read the data, see the movie" »

September 27, 2011

Mon fils est-il gay?

Appli_gay_inside Android has been marketing a new app to French women that, for 1 euro 99 centimes, claims to tell them whether they have a gay son. Surely everyone gets that this is some developer's lame attempt at humor. The app consists of a "questionnaire" comprised of worn out cliches, stereotypes and roll your eyes jokes. Is this stuff funny to anyone any more?

Lucky us - apparently it's now available in English -

 

  • Before he was born, did you wish for a girl?
  • Has he ever been in a fight?
  • Does he read the sports page in the newspaper?
  • Is his best friend a girl?
  • Does he like team sports?
  • Is he modest?
  • Is he a fan of divas (Madonna, Britney Spears)?  
  • Does he spend a long time in the bathroom?
  • Does he piercings in his tongue, nose or ears?
  • Do you wonder about your son’s sexual orientation?
  • Are you divorced?
  • Does he like musical comedies?
  • Has he ever introduced you to a girlfriend?
  • Is his father a very authoritarian person?
  • Within your family, is the father absent at all?
  • During his childhood, was he timid or discreet?
  • Does he have a complicated relationship with his father?
  • Does he take a long time to do his hair?
  • Does he like to dress well: is he very careful when choosing his outfits and selecting brands?
  • Does he like football?
  • The app provides two answers:

    Your son is gay, accept it.

                and

    You have nothing to worry about… You have a very good chance of being a grandmother with all the joys that brings.

    Yuck.

    No videotapes of Prop 8 trial likely to be released anytime soon

    The Prop 8 proponents appealed the order of District Court Judge James Ware granting a motion to release to the public the videotapes made during the 2010 trial, and the Ninth Circuit has now issued a temporary stay of the release. No surprise in either development. Briefs are due October 10 on the question of whether this temporary stay should remain in effect until the Ninth Circuit decides whether the lower court was correct to order the release.

    September 26, 2011

    The anti-gay marriage attack on Iowa's Supreme Court

    The American Prospect has the backstory on the campaign that defeated three justices of the Iowa Supreme Court in their retention campaigns as payback for votes to allow same-sex couples to marry:

    The Iowa Supreme Court publishes, on average, a little more than 100 decisions a year. Each ruling goes online first thing Friday mornings. When Varnum v. Brien went live at 8:15 A.M. April 3, 2009, the court’s website crashed when more than a million visitors tried to read the opinion. In a unanimous decision, the seven supreme court justices--five Democratic and two Republican appointees--had ruled that Iowa’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples violated the equal-protection clause of the state constitution. When county clerks began issuing marriage licenses three weeks later, Iowa became the third state with legalized same-sex marriage...

    Opponents of gay marriage... were dismayed. None more so than Bob Vander Plaats, who had risen early that morning and driven three hours to join several evangelical pastors in praying outside the supreme court building... 

    Vander Plaats lost the Republican nomination for governor [in 2010], but Varnum gave him the issue he had always been looking for. A year after the decision, he mobilized an unprecedented attack against Iowa’s judiciary, which had been known for its lack of partisanship. With assistance from a powerful evangelical organization from out of state, he exploited an obscure clause of judicial selection and mounted a full-throttle assault against the supreme court judges who legalized same-sex marriage. No laws changed, but three of the judges lost their positions. The state’s progressive community is still grappling with the question: How did a fringe political candidate upend what had once been a model of judicial independence?...

    The state owes that reputation [for nonpartisan courts] to its 1962 adoption of the “Missouri Plan” for placing judges on the bench. Under the system, a panel of 15--seven selected by the governor, seven by the bar association, plus a sitting state supreme court justice--interviews potential judges on their experience and knowledge of the law. The panel is barred from asking interviewees their political affiliation. The governor picks from three finalists. Supreme court justices go on the ballot at the first general election after they are selected and every eight years after. Until 2010, Iowa’s retention votes had always been ho-hum affairs. Only four lower-court judges had ever lost a retention vote, in each case because they were accused of malfeasance. A campaign had never been waged against a supreme court justice...

    After [the] hearing [in Varnum], the justices [met] in a small conference room on the fourth floor of the supreme court building. ...Justice Mark Cady, one of the two Republican appointees, had been randomly selected to write the majority opinion on the Varnum case, which meant that he would speak first. If any of the justices were going to find fault in the plaintiffs’ interpretation of the constitution, it would likely be Cady, the strictest constitutionalist of the group. After laying out both sides’ arguments, Cady announced he was ruling in favor of the plaintiffs. The justices went clockwise around the granite-topped table. They did not agree on every legal point, but after two hours, all of them had sided with the plaintiffs. “We went around the table, and we just pushed back and said, ‘Jeez, this is going to be unanimous.’ We were just shocked,” a justice later told me.

    Continue reading "The anti-gay marriage attack on Iowa's Supreme Court" »

    The week ahead: September 26, 2011

    Coming up this week:

    Tuesday, September 27 - Due date for a petition for rehearing en banc before the Ninth Circuit in Diaz v. Brewer

    Saturday, October 1 - Slutwalk to end excuses 276672_216056131773443_1069665949_n for rape - New York City. Slutwalk began in Toronto in January as a spontaneous community response to a Toronto police official quoted as saying that if women didn't want to be raped, they shouldn't dress like sluts. Since then there have been walks in Boston, DC, Chicago and other cities.

    Sunday, October 2 - The scheduled date for Belgrade Pride, an event that has been iffy because of the threat of anti-gay violence and the hesitation of some local officials to guarantee police protection for the pride marchers. The 2009 parade was canceled; last year it went forward. This year - stay tuned.

    September 24, 2011

    National Single and Unmarried Americans Week ends

    Gay marriage is having the effect of spotlighting single - and it seems from this article, implicitly straight - people in this NY Times article:

    About 100 million Americans, nearly half of all adults, are unmarried, according to the Census Bureau — yet they tend to be overlooked by policies that favor married couples, from family-leave laws to lower insurance rates.

    That national bias is one reason gay people fight for the right to marry, but now some researchers are concerned that the marriage equality movement is leaving single people behind.

    “There is this push for marriage in the straight community and in the gay community, essentially assuming that if you don’t get married there is something wrong with you,” says Naomi Gerstel, a sociologist at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst who has published a number of papers comparing the married and unmarried.

    “But a huge proportion of the population is unmarried, and the single population is only going to grow. At the same time, all the movement nationally is to offer benefits to those who are married, and that leaves single people dry.”

    Yet as she and other experts note, single people often contribute more to the community — because once people marry, they tend to put their energy and focus into their partners and their own families at the expense of friendships, community ties and extended families.

    In a report released this week by the Council on Contemporary Families, Dr. Gerstel notes that while 68 percent of married women offer practical or routine help to their parents, 84 percent of the never-married do. Just 38 percent of married men help their parents, compared with 67 percent of never-married men. Even singles who have children are more likely than married people to contribute outside their immediate family.

    “It’s the unmarried, with or without kids, who are more likely to take care of other people,” Dr. Gerstel said. “It’s not having children that isolates people. It’s marriage.”

    The unmarried also tend to be more connected with siblings, nieces and nephews. And while married people have high rates of volunteerism when it comes to taking part in their children’s activities, unmarried people often are more connected to the community as a whole. About 1 in 5 unmarried people take part in volunteer work like teaching, coaching other people’s children, raising money for charities and distributing or serving food.

    Unmarried people are more likely to visit with neighbors. And never-married women are more likely than married women to sign petitions and go to political gatherings, according to Dr. Gerstel.

    The demographics of unmarried people are constantly changing, and more Americans are spending a greater percentage of their lives unmarried than married. While some people never marry, other adults now counted as single are simply delaying marriage longer than people of their parents’ generation did. And many people are single because of divorce or the death of a spouse. About one-sixth of all unmarried adults are 65 and older; nearly one-eighth of unmarried people are parents...

    Bella DePaulo, a visiting professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has a term for discrimination against single people, which she calls one of the last accepted prejudices. It is the title of her new book, “Singlism: What It Is, Why It Matters and How to Stop It.”

    As an example, Dr. DePaulo cites the Family and Medical Leave Act. Because she is single and has no children, nobody in her life can take time off under the law to care for her if she becomes ill. Nor does it require that she be given time off to care for a sibling, nephew or close friend.

    Stephanie Coontz, director of research for the Council on Contemporary Families, says policy makers often neglect the needs of single people because their view is outdated — based on the way they themselves grew up. In researching her latest book, “A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique in American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s,” Coontz found that in the past single people were often called “deviant,” “neurotic” and “selfish.”

    “We do have the tendency to think that there is something special about married people, and that they are the ones who keep community and family going,” she said. “I thought it was important to point out that single people keep our community going, too.”

    September 23, 2011

    Judge to DoJ opposing equal discharge pay for gay soldiers: Good luck with that

    The AP's coverage of the hearing yesterday in Collins v. U.S.:

    Two days after repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy against gays serving openly in the military, the Obama administration was in court Thursday opposing a lawsuit seeking full severance pay for those dismissed under the law. The American Civil Liberties Union is seeking class action status for 142 people who only got half pay after their discharge because of being gay. But the Justice Department asked the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to dismiss the case.

    Judge Christine Odell Cook Miller said she probably will let the case continue and questioned why the government wouldn't pay now that the law has changed. "Your timing is exquisite - two days after the policy goes into effect eliminating `don't ask, don't tell,' here we are," she said as she took the bench. "I would consider this to be an unenviable argument to have at this time," she told the government's attorney later.

    The case was filed by the ACLU on behalf of former Air Force Staff Sgt. Richard Collins of Clovis, N.M. He was honorably discharged in 2006 after nine years of service when two civilians who worked with him at Cannon Air Force Base reported they saw him kiss his boyfriend in a car about 10 miles from the base. The decorated sergeant was off-duty and not in uniform at the time, according to the lawsuit...

    The Air Force paid Collins $12,351 instead of the $25,702 he expected after his discharge.

    Separation pay is granted to military personnel who served at least six years but were involuntarily discharged, part of an effort to ease their transition into civilian life. But the Defense Department has a list of conditions that trigger an automatic reduction in that pay, including homosexuality, unsuccessful drug or alcohol treatment or discharge in the interests of national security. That policy went into effect in 1991, two years before "don't ask, don't tell" became law.

    The suit argues it is unconstitutional for the Defense Department to unilaterally cut the amount for people discharged for homosexuality.

    The administration is not defending the merits of the policy. Instead, Justice Department lawyer L. Misha Preheim argued the defense secretary has sole discretion to decide who gets what separation pay and the court cannot rewrite military regulations.

    Miller said she would issue a ruling on the government's motion to dismiss by Oct. 15 after full review of the Justice Department's arguments, but her preliminary decision was to deny the motion. She warned Preheim and a uniformed Air Force attorney also at the defense table that they should be prepared for the case to move forward. She said it's probably appropriate to certify it for class action status, if the government really thinks it's worth it to continue fighting the case. "I can't believe this is something the military wants to revisit now," she said.

    Joshua Block, attorney with the ACLU lesbian gay bisexual and transgender project, said the class action would cover 142 people who got half pay for being discharged for homosexuality in the past six years - the time period covered by the statute of limitations - for a total payment of $2.1 million...

    NAACP moves on lgbt rights, seeks greater lgbt reliability on racial justice issues

    In case you haven't noticed, there is a new generation in evidence at the traditional insitutional icon of civil rights, the NAACP. NAACP President Benjamin Jealous embodies the shift: he grew up in an interracial, middle-class, left-of-center, northern California family and became a Rhodes Scholar. He's open about his openly gay brother. Jealous brings with him an inclination toward involvement in a range of progressive issues, including but not limited to lgbt rights. He's also clear that the lgbt community needs to be a more constant ally on racial issues.

    A milestone in this change came during the recent annual conference, with the first-ever NAACP town hall discussion of lgbt rights. The program framed the event as

    “OUR COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY: WHY WE MUST OVERCOME HOMOPHOBIA”

    Building upon the ground breaking work of the NAACP LGBT Taskforce, this workshop will provide an in-depth analysis on social issues and policies that disproportionately affect the LGBT Black community, this public forum will examine the complex layers of homophobia within the Black community and new ideas on the important role of Black straight allies, civil rights organizations, families, churches and colleges to eradicate stigma, violence and discrimination of Black gay people. Like most Blackpeople, Black LGBT people share a common history and continued struggle to eradicate racism, yet their identities, talents and leadership are diminished because of homophobia. Through film, engaged dialogue and featured presentations from academics, activists, clergy and policy makers this informative and provocative forum will examine the signifi cant contributions of Black gay leaders within the Civil Rights movement, the role of Black straight allies in addressing homophobia and how we can collectively overcome LGBT discrimination.

    Julian Bond, who led the event, stated the NAACP LGBT Task Force was formed in 2009 with the National Black Justice Coalition, and described the NAACP’s three-point mission to increase acceptance of black LGBT people in the African American community:

    1. strengthen the NAACP’s knowledge of LGBT issues and policies,
    2. build alliances with LGBT organizations, and
    3. advance awareness of LGBT issues as they relate to the programs and interests of the NAACP.

    He also addressed several areas where conflict exists between the LGBT and the African American communities.

    We know that black lesbians, black gay men, black bisexual people and black transgender people suffer a level of discrimination and harassment far beyond the level felt by straight black women and men.

    If you disagree, or if your Bible tells you that gay people ought not be married in your church, don’t tell them they can’t be married at City Hall. Marriage is a civil rite as well as a civil right, and we can’t allow religious bigotry to close the door to justice for anyone….

    For some people, comparisons between the African American Civil Rights movement and the movement for gay and lesbian rights seems to diminish the long, black historical struggle with all it’s suffering, sacrifices and endless toil. People of color, however, ought to be flattered that our Movement has provided so much inspiration for others, that it has been so widely imitated, and that our tactics, heroes, heroines and methods, even our songs, have been appropriated as models for others….

    People of color carry the badge of who we are on our faces. But we are far from the only people suffering from discrimination…. They deserve the laws, protections and civil rights, too.

      

     [More coverage here]

    September 22, 2011

    Support for pro-gay speech and gay teachers rises dramatically

    According to the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, public support for allowing an "admitted homosexual" to speak or to teach has risen farther and faster than support for any other of the unpopular speech categories that NORC has studied. Allowing an openly gay person to speak has shot up from 62% in 1973 to 86% in 2010; the level of support for allowing an openly gay person to be a teacher was 48% in 1973 and 84% in 2010.

    By comparison, the support levels for "someone who is against all churches and religion" moved in the same time period from 66% to 72% for speaking and from 41% to 60% for teaching.

    The full report contains results for other unpopular speakers as well, none of which registered the same jump in public support as the "admitted homosexuals." The underlying data come from the GSS (General Social Survey), probably the most respected source of data on social trends in the U.S.

    September 21, 2011

    Wrongful death claims from state fair accident will test Indiana law on partner recognition

    From the IndyStar:

    Legal claims filed by the lesbian partners of two women killed in a stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair last month could lead Indiana to examine how it defines survivors in wrongful death cases despite the state's stance against same-sex unions.

    Christina Santiago, 29, Chicago, and Tammy VanDam, 42, Wanatah, Ind., were among seven people who died after a strong gust of wind toppled the stage rigging before an Aug. 13 concert by country band Sugarland. Santiago's partner, Alisha Brennon, and VanDam's partner, Beth Urschel, were injured.

    A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Urschel, and a wrongful death tort claim -- a precursor to a possible suit -- has been filed with the state of Indiana on behalf of Brennon.

    Indiana's wrongful death statute allows next of kin to collect damages. But those are technically people related by DNA, adoption or marriage, said Jennifer A. Drobac, a professor at the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis.

    VanDam and Urschel had registered several years ago in Hawaii as reciprocal beneficiaries, a status that confers some of the legal benefits of marriage -- including survivor benefits -- to unmarried couples. Friends and colleagues said Brennon and Santiago had gone through a civil union in Illinois and planned to marry.

    Indiana doesn't recognize those acts. But the courts could choose to define next of kin more broadly to include people who live together, share bank accounts, have children together or are otherwise committed to sharing their lives, Drobac said...

    September 20, 2011

    DADT dies, but its ghosts are close behind

    Truth be told, the DADT policy has been twisting in the wind for at least a year, as the Pentagon added multiple levels of review for each proposed discharge, and then the order of the District Court in Log Cabin Republicans v. Panetta mandated no initiation of new cases. Still, today is THE day, the moment when the brass hats have finally acceded to the change that everyone knew was coming, but that none of them wanted to happen "on my watch."

    And it is truly stunning - the U. S. military is now training its troops on their duty to accept and work with the gay men and lesbians in their units.

    It is also true, however, that a number of problematic issues remain. Big ones include:

    • There has been no progress on the acceptance of transgender service members, regardless of their abilities.
    • Members who were discharged during the reign of DADT may have claims for lost pay or benefits.
    • Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice - the sodomy law - remains in effect, although prosecutions are not brought in the absence of aggravating factors such as relations between a superior and a subordinate or in a public place.
    • There may be some family benefits for service members that do not depend on marriage and which are extendable to partners and/or the children of partners. If Section 3 of DoMA is invalidated, the military will have to recognize same-sex marriages.

    The biggest question mark, in my view, is how any incidents of harassment will be handled. Harassment of women (especially lesbians) has been at epidemic levels within the military for years. Occasionally, a  particularly flagrant example makes its way into the press, but most are ignored and many are apparently considered business as usual

    The world will be watching for whether gay and lesbian service members become targets for physical or verbal assault. Military leaders should take this opportunity to crack down on the misogyny that fuels all forms of harassment.