Servicemembers Legal Defense Network on Tuesday condemned
Pentagon officials for spying on civilian
groups--especially student groups that are
opposed to "don't ask, don't tell." The group said it plans
to file a Freedom of Information Act request to try and
learn if other LGBT groups have been targeted.
"The Pentagon is supposed to defend the
Constitution, not turn it upside down," said
SLDN executive director C. Dixon Osburn. "Students
have a First Amendment right to protest, and Americans
have a right to expect that their government will
respect our constitutional right to privacy. To
suggest that a gay kiss-in is a 'credible
threat' is absurd, homophobic, and irrational.
To suggest the Constitution does not apply to groups
with views differing with Pentagon policy is chilling."
NBC News broke the story last week and noted
that Pentagon investigators had records pertaining to
April protests at the State University of New York at
Albany and William Patterson College in New Jersey. A
February protest at NYU was also listed, along with
the law school's LGBT advocacy group OUTlaw,
which was classified as "possibly violent" by
the Pentagon. A University of California, Santa Cruz,
"don't ask, don't tell" protest that included a
gay kiss-in was labeled as a "credible
threat" of terrorism.
In January, the Department of Defense confirmed
a report that Air Force officials proposed developing
a chemical weapon in 1994 that would turn enemies gay.
The proposal, part of a plan from Wright Air Force Base in
Dayton, Ohio, was to develop "chemicals that effect
[sic] human behavior so that discipline and morale in
enemy units is adversely effected [sic]. One
distasteful but completely nonlethal example would be strong
aphrodisiacs, especially if the chemical also caused
homosexual behavior." SLDN also condemned that
report, and the Pentagon later said it never intended
to develop the program.
"The Pentagon seems to constantly find
new and more offensive ways to demean lesbian, gay,
bisexual, and transgender people," said Osburn.
"First, we were deemed unfit to serve our country,
despite winning wars, medals, and the praise of fellow
service members. Then, our sexual orientation was
suggested as a means to destabilize the enemy. Now, our
public displays of affection are equated with al Qaeda
terrorist activity. It is time for new Pentagon policy
consistent with the views of 21st-century