The nation’s attention has been drawn to the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy regarding homosexuals following President Obama’s State of the Union speech, and researchers, pundits, and politicians have questioned the policy’s fairness.
But, according to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau, the policy is particularly unfair to African-American women in same-sex relationships.
The task force study, “Black Same-Sex Households in the United States: A Report From the 2000 Census,” was aimed at discovering the disadvantages, if any, facing African-American same-sex couples.
The study found that Black same-sex couples are at a disadvantage in almost every category, including how the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy affects Black women.
The policy, introduced by President Clinton in 1993, prohibits openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual individuals from serving in the military, while also prohibiting the military from investigating or revealing those people.
The study found that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has been used to kick Black women out of the military at a much higher rate than other groups. In fact, Black women are discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” at three times their military service rate, the report states.
“Although Black women make up less than one percent of service members, they comprise 3.3 percent of those discharged under the policy,” according to the Census Bureau report.
Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, who supports Obama’s stance on repealing the policy, told Fox News on February 7 that he would launch a review to gauge Armed Forces members’ feelings on it.
“The review that I am launching is to help inform the legislative process of some facts about the attitudes of our men and women in uniform, what they think about a change in the law, what their families think,” Gates said. “The truth is, we don’t have any facts.”