1 Nov 2010

An Elephant named Morality

Reflecting in the context of the "don't ask don' tell policy" prevailing in the United States Armed Forces in respect of sexual preferences of the force members, a recent article on SSRN written by those closely associated with the Army has raised important issues of State policy in as much as they are influenced by concerns of 'morality'. 

In their paper entitled "An Elephant Named Morality" the authors have sought to attack the policy framers for having given overdue weightage to moral considerations in armed forces where performance and ability is the key determinant rather than personal preferences. The authors allege that "many of the arguments opposing gays in the military are identical to those levied against the integration of blacks and women decades earlier. The primary argument in favor of continued lntegration is also the same: The only discriminating factor should be one's ability to do the job. Nevertheless, the integration of gays is clearly different from its historical predecessors because, unlike race and gender, repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" crosses moral, and for many, religious lines. This undeniable factor creates a layer of complexity that has not only amplified the emotional fortitude of the opposition, it has simultaneously forced silence on moral argument mute."

In this context, the paper provides interesting insights into the issue of moral considerations affecting laws in a wholistic perspective to make an interesting read. The abstract reads as under;
Arguments over the don't ask, don't tell policy (10 USC 654) which bans homosexuals from service in the United States military often ignore the most fundamental issue: morality. The argument is straightforward: (1) Sexual misconduct is a matter of choice; (2) acts of sexual misconduct are immoral; (3) those who commit immoral acts are themselves, immoral; and, (4) immoral individuals aren't fit for military service. Military leaders can no longer ignore the moral argument – the elephant in the room – when debating the merits of adopting new policies governing the rights of gay and lesbian military members to serve.

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