The Jury Talks Back

3/25/2009

San Francisco school board may overturn JROTC ban

Filed under: California Politics — aunursa @ 8:47 pm

The San Francisco Board of Education will reconsider its 2006 decision to end the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program.  With three new board members, JROTC supporters believe they have the votes necessary to overturn the previous 4-2 decision that would eliminate the 90 year-old program from public high schools this coming June.  The program served some 1600 students at the time of the initial decision.

In November San Francisco voters passed Proposition V, a non-binding measure in support of JROTC, by a 53-47 margin.  Even in the most anti military city in America, a majority of residents support the program.

Eric Linarez, 18, echoed the arguments of many opponents in a statement reported by the San Francisco Examiner.  The teenager made the seemingly opposing complaints that JROTC discriminates against gays and lesbians and targets blacks and Hispanics for military service.  Apparently we need more LGBT soldiers to take the place of overrepresented black and Latino soldiers.  (I personally oppose the military ban on gay and lesbian service.  Openly gay soldiers serve countries such as Israel with no detrimental effects.  And obviously I reject the idea that the program does or should specifically target certain racial groups for recruitment.)

Hundreds of students and parents are to be commended for have worked tirelessly for over 2 1/2 years to overturn the initial decision.  The board will vote on the new measure in three weeks.

7 Comments

  1. Slightly off the main topic, but…

    For those people who want the military to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly, the best way to achieve it is to get Congress to take care of some of the issues preventing it. Issues that are bound to be controversial, and that need answering should the military openly admit gays.

    Three come immediately to mind, the first two of which Congress really should be the ones to debate and determine the policy to be implemented, since these are legal issues rather than military issues.

    1) Sodomy is still outlawed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Completely. Even between consenting adults. Even if they are married.

    Many people don’t realize it, but the UCMJ is not a military regulation, it is military law. The difference between the two is rarely made clear, but it is significant. Regulations are drawn up by the military and can be changed by the military. Military law is federal law, enacted by the US Congress. The military can recommend that it be changed, but only Congress can actually change it.

    What does the military do until it is changed? Suppose it isn’t changed? Should the military just turn a blind eye to troops suspected of breaking federal law? If your answer is yes, are you really comfortable with the military choosing which laws it wants to abide by and which one it wants to ignore?

    This one is squarely in Congress’ court and really should be dealt with by Congress before changing military policy.

    2) Marriage benefits are a big deal in the military. Should the military recognize homosexual marriages or should it discriminate against homosexuals by denying them this benefit? (Mind you, you don’t need to refer to it as marriage, if you think that’s a problem. Should homosexual ‘civil unions’ be recognized and get this benefit?) Another issue that really needs to be debated and decided by Congress.

    3) Sexes are normally barracked separately. Should homosexuals be considered separate sexes? Why (or why not)? If not, how do you justify barracking men and women separately? Should the military go unisex?

    This last issue does have some interaction with military matters, rather than simply legal matters, but Congress could definitely signal which way it would prefer for the military to go.

    In my opinion, the first is the most important if you want gays and lesbians to be able to openly serve. Yet I don’t recall ever seeing any mention of a member of Congress proposing to rescind that law. Have I just missed it? I would think this would be something the LGBT lobby would be pressing their congressmen to take care of, but I never see any mention of any such proposal. Why not? Recinding that law would eliminate one of the military’s more powerful legal arguments for excluding gays, and would certainly make life a lot easier for many gays if the military did suddenly change policy and start admitting them openly.

    Comment by Dan D — 3/25/2009 @ 10:43 pm

  2. I don’t live in San Francisco, but I live in its suburbs, and were I a citizen of the City, I would have voted in favor of Proposition V.

    I oppose the ban on gays in the military, and dislike the fact that JROTC discriminates against gay people.

    But this is different from, say, the boy scouts; the JROTC is in some sense not legally able to choose any other course. So, while I see no problem with the school district refusing to play nice with the boy scouts, I think discontinuing JROTC programs is problematic.

    Comment by aphrael — 3/26/2009 @ 10:50 am

  3. Sodomy is still outlawed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Completely. Even between consenting adults. Even if they are married.

    It’s not clear to me that law is still valid, in the wake of Lawrence. That said, Congress should repeal it.

    Suppose it isn’t changed? Should the military just turn a blind eye to troops suspected of breaking federal law?

    They already do. I am quite certain that consensual sodomy occurs between married soldiers and their spouses all of the time, and it is ignored.

    Should the military recognize homosexual marriages or should it discriminate against homosexuals by denying them this benefit?

    Ideally, it should recognize them, although I imagine that change is a much bigger one than just allowing gay soldiers to serve, and probably isn’t achievable in the same legal change.

    Sexes are normally barracked separately. Should homosexuals be considered separate sexes? Why (or why not)? If not, how do you justify barracking men and women separately? Should the military go unisex?

    Homosexuals should not be considered a seperate sex. The justification for barrackign men and women seperately is the danger of rape (or, perhaps, sexual harassment of the minority by the majority; the thing that you’re worried about in the gay soldier case is sexual harassment of the majority by the minority,a much, much less likely event). I have no problem with the military, or any other institution, going unisex; but I doubt that the members of the institution are willing to go there, and they shouldn’t be forced to.

    Comment by aphrael — 3/26/2009 @ 10:54 am

  4. What I remember from JROTC is that I loved the guns. M1 Garands and M-14s to disassemble, single-shot .22s for target practice. Our instructor was an 82nd Airborne Master Sergeant. Cool dude. All he wanted from us was a six-minute mile. He could do it, at three times our age in combat boots.

    My father hated it because he was proud of my hair and did not like it cut short. So I had Elvis Presley pompodours, away from the ears and neck but long on top.

    Comment by nk — 3/26/2009 @ 5:48 pm

  5. We had a guest lecturer, a WWII Air Corps Ace. He told us how he had been decorated.

    “I was on patrol over France, and I spot a Fokker above me. Then I see another Fokker to my left. And one more Fokker to my right.”

    We’re maybe all sixteen or so, so we are grinning and giggling, and Sgt. Rivers, “Settle down, guys, a Fokker is a type of German plane”.

    And the WWII Ace says, “That’s right, Sergeant, but these Fokkers were Messerschmitts”.

    Comment by nk — 3/27/2009 @ 2:58 pm

  6. […] The Jury Talks Back San Francisco school board may overturn Posted by root 11 minutes ago (http://patterico.com) Mar 25 2009 1 sodomy is still outlawed by the uniform code of military justice comment by aphrael 3 26 2009 10 50 am powered by wordpress Discuss  |  Bury |  News | The Jury Talks Back San Francisco school board may overturn […]

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