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Houston Voice, No. 999, December 17, 1999
File 009
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Houston Voice, No. 999, December 17, 1999 - File 009. 1999-12-17. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. October 23, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/223/show/198.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(1999-12-17). Houston Voice, No. 999, December 17, 1999 - File 009. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/223/show/198

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Voice, No. 999, December 17, 1999 - File 009, 1999-12-17, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed October 23, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/223/show/198.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Voice, No. 999, December 17, 1999
Contributor
  • Hennie, Matthew A.
Publisher Window Media
Date December 17, 1999
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 31485329
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Montrose Voice
Rights In Copyright
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 009
Transcript VOICES AND ECHOES DECEMBER 17, 1999 • HOUSTON VOICE EDITORIAL STAFF Associate Publisher Mike Fleming mike8houstonvoice.com Editor Matthew A. Hennie editor@houstonvoice.com Production Bethany Bartran - Graphic Designer Mike Swenson - Graphic Designer Contributors Rich Arenschieldt, Kay Y. Dayus. Trayce Diskin, Earl Dittman, D.L. Groover, Robert B. Henderson, Gip Plaster, Ella Tyler Photographers Dalton DeHart, Kim Thompson, Terry Sullivan Advertising Sales Richard B. Hayes Ken Burd Office Administrator Marshall Rainwater Classifieds & Directory Carolyn A. Roberts Carolyn White National Advertising Representative Rivendell Marketing Company, Inc. 212-242-6863 Publishers Chris Crain Rick Ellsasser A WindowMedia Publication 7] National r Gay MEMBER CHARTER MEMBER GREATER HOUSTON GAY & LESBIAN I CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Established 1974 as the Montrose Star. 500 Lovett Blvd., Suite 200 Houston, Texas 77006 (713)529-8490 (800)729-8490 Fax: (713) 529-9531 Contents copyright 1999 Office hours: 9 am. to 5:30p.m. weekdays To submit a letter Letters should be fewer than 400 words. We reserve the right to edit for content and length We will withhold names upon request, but you must include your name and phone number for verification. Please send mail to Houston Voice, 500 Lovett Blvd., Suite 200, Houston. Texas 77006; fax (713) 529-9531 or e-mail to editor@houston- voke.com. Opinions expressed therein do not reflect those of the Houston Voice. 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' don't work It was a remarkable week for gay and lesbian Americans, as three of the nation's most powerful political figures announced within a few days span that the seven-year- old policy called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" didn't work and ought to be junked. Ever since a newly-elected President Clinton first felt political heat for his campaign promise to end the ban on gays in the military, we have searched in vain for a voice in the White House that would make our case to the American people. Instead, the Clinton-Gore administration, terrified the new president's "honeymoon" would be squandered, caved to conservatives from both parties in Congress. Most Democrats, including administration lapdogs like Barney Frank, accepted the resulting compromise, an unprincipled beast called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Seven years of compelling constitutional challenges left the policy largely in tact. Lower federal judges would strike DADT down as a violation of equal protection and the First Amendment, only to see more conservative appeal courts restore the policy, deferring to Congress on military matters. Seven years of painstaking evidence- gathering from an unsung gay rights lobby called the .Servicemembers Legal Defense Network laid out in detail how the policy, which was supposed to have facilitated closeted service by gay men and lesbians, has in fact resulted in harassment, witch hunts and a steady increase in discharges. Memories of the 1993 political nightmare still fresh in their minds, the Clinton-Gore administration did nothing in the face of SLDN's evidence except approve a report that suggested the rise in discharges came about because of fake claims of homosexuality, like that claimed by Corporal Klinger on "M*A'S*H." Only in the last 12 months has the Defense Department made any significant promises to improve DADT enforcement and correct abuses. Those efforts were too little and too late for Pvt. Barry Winchell. After weeks of vicious abuse from his squadron—harassment that a fellow soldier testified was enjoyed as "good fun" by all—Winchell was bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat by another soldier embarrassed that a homo had bested him in a fist fight; a fight Winchell had not started. If there were any doubt that DADT and its proponents share some blame for Winchell's death, it was removed by further testimony, from a sergeant overseeing Winchell's unit, who said he was advised that under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," he could do nothing about anti-gay harassment. It was the blood of Barry Winchell, much like the scarecrow image of Matthew Shepard before him, that finally moved official Washington. Or was it electoral politics? Hillary Clinton came first. Appearing before a gay group, she called for the repeal of DADT. "There are already gay and lesbian Americans who serve with distinction in the military. They should be able to do so without discrimination and harassment," she would say two days later. The president, put on the defensive by Hillary's attack and making note of Winchell's murder, took the unusual tact of condemning his own policy, admitting "it's way out of whack now, and I don't think any serious person can say it's not." Then along came the vice president, who up to this point had only gone so far as to urge a more "compassionate enforcement" of DADT, sounding every bit like the "compassionate conservative" leading the polls for the GOP presidential nomination. W/U.AM* HIGg-C TERO SAME - SEX SUPER UNWEPDED &SSP. By Gore was soon boxed in on DADT. His opponent, Bill Bradley, had voted against DADT in 1993 and had forcefully restated during the fall campaign his belief that gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military. Even Barney Frank, under questioning from Michelangelo Signorile, called for the veep to reconsider his stand. Finally Gore relented, returning to the position his aides claim he had argued behind closed doors at the White House since 1993. "In light of the Winchell case and other evidence," Gore said on Monday, "1 believe the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy should be eliminated. Gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve their country without discrimination." The dominoes had fallen, and the Democrats were on board. The Republicans, meanwhile, are staying quiet but standing firm. No GOP candidate for president favors repealing DADT, except that several would reinstate an outright ban on service by gays. That means the debate over DADT is far from over, especially since President Clinton has again decided he's got no political capital to expend on behalf of gay civil rights, even when it costs lives. The White House announced late Tuesday that although DADT was broken, Clinton would prefer tinkering with it to facing down Republicans in Congress. That's the political cowardice we've come to expect over seven painful years of rhetoric without action—at least where it might have a political cost. Can we expect better from the likes of Gore and Bradley, not to mention Hillary Rodham Clinton? Will they put our case to the American people, or will they restate their position and hope the conversation changes, the way the president has to date? If they choose the latter course, they will deserve the inevitable criticism that their position on DADT is political pandering, a bone to throw to an important Democratic party constituency. It's the same sort of special interest politics that Republicans have practiced for years with the religious right: talk a good game, do little, and remind them they've got nowhere else to go with their votes. Or will they step up to the challenge and stare down the opposition? Only time will tell whether our new champions will put our case to the people with that much force. But there's more reason than ever for hope. In their first debate, at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, Bradley and Gore both made eloquent appeals to the cause of gay rights, putting our claim to a place at the table in the historical context of other proud civil rights battles. Those two New Hampshire speeches went miles down the road first trod by candidate Clinton eight years ago. With luck, we'll move even further down that road, and be treated to more weeks like we have seen recently.
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