Last night on Lundon Calling, Ace, Lance and I interviewed Col. Grethe Cammermeyer–the highest ranking member of the military to ever be discharged under the military’s ban on gay and lesbian servicemembers. She was the subject of of the 1995 Emmy-award winning TV movie, Serving In Silence, starring Glenn Close, and after winning her case in the US Appellate Court, she went back into the military and served as an open lesbian until 1997.
Our 90 minute conversation in Episode 73 focused mainly on the issue of lesbian and gay discrimination in the military, but we discussed a wide range of topics from her run for United States Congress to her parents’ participation in the Nazi resistance in WWII-era Norway, to political parties to religion. You should know by now that no topic is off-limits for this show!
Most important to consider about interviewing Col. Cammermeyer, however, is that this interview gives us perspective on the eve of a Senate Armed Services Committee vote to approve the Military Readiness Enhancement Act’s language, and attach that language that would end the law banning gay and lesbian military service to the “must pass” Defense Department Authorization bill.
Experts say votes to attach the bill to the authorization are imminent in the House and Senate this Thursday morning, and–barring any Republican motion to recommit–we may see an end to the US law banning gay service members this year.
As we discussed on the show, the ball would move to the Executive Branch’s court. The compromise reached Monday morning does not include all of the pieces that activists had pushed for. Gone is the nixing of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, the end of the ban on sodomy, and nowhere is there the addition of gays and lesbians to non-discrimination policy.
What does exist, however, is a clear path to a full repeal by empowering the Pentagon to enact these changes when Secretary Gates’ study group concludes and reports its findings in December. Further pressure being put on Secretary Gates’ boss–the President of the United States–would not be ill placed at the moment, since there will be no one in Congress to blame anymore if the discharges do not end.
Please listen to our intriguing and informative interview with Col. Cammermeyer and leave a comment!