In his September 21 Wall Street Journal column, deputy editorial page editor Bret Stephen argued for the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, saying: "Gays in the military: The White House and Congress owe them better":
The values argument isn't the half of it. Since DADT came into force in 1993, some 14,000 service members have been discharged under the policy--the equivalent of an entire division of warfighters. Investigating and processing each case has its costs; so does recruiting and training each replacement. How much? A 2006 commission organized by UCLA's Palm Center and led by former Defense Secretary William Perry put the total cost of each discharge at $42,835, meaning the policy has now cost the U.S. taxpayer around $600 million.
That's not pocket change, especially for a military scrounging for savings. It's also no small matter at a time when the military's recruitment standards for age, education, physical fitness and moral standards have been steadily declining. In the last two years alone the Army and Marines have granted an unprecedented number of "moral waivers" to recruits with previous felony convictions.
But what about the argument that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military would harm recruitment, morale and unit cohesion? Mr. Laich doesn't buy it. Existing military regulations strictly prohibiting or regulating sexual conduct would still apply, and violators would continue to be punished. NATO militaries, as well as Israel's, have integrated gay service members without issue. And similar arguments to the ones being made now against repealing DADT were made when African Americans, and later women, were integrated into the army.
"Five years from now we'll look back at this and say, what was all the fuss?" he says. "These young soldiers, sailors and Marines come from a society where gays and lesbians are readily accepted and work with them and go to school with them."
In the meantime, it's worth noting that there are an estimated 48,000 homosexuals on active duty or the reserves, many of them in critical occupations, many with distinguished service records. If they pose any risk at all to America's security, it is, paradoxically, because DADT institutionalizes dishonesty, puts them at risk of blackmail, and forces fellow warfighters who may know about their orientation to make an invidious choice between comradeship and the law. That's no way to run a military.
Tomorrow, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on cloture for the annual defense authorization bill. The bill includes a provision that would authorize the repeal of the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy banning open service by gay men and lesbians. Polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans support overturning that law.
But the Washington Times -- America's foremost anti-gay daily -- isn't letting DADT disappear without a fight. Tomorrow's edition will include two op-eds rife with the sort of misinformation that conservatives have been pushing throughout the debate.
First up, this screed from Reagan administration official and nutty birther Frank Gaffney. Gaffney's hysterical rant, titled "D-day for the U.S. military," is based on the idea that repealing DADT "could break" the armed forces. (Incidentally, I'm pretty sure that D-day was "D-day for the U.S. military.")
As we've previously noted, these fears have been greatly exaggerated by the anti-gay right. In fact, 25 nations -- including vital U.S. allies like the United Kingdom, Israel, Canada, and Australia -- allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly in their armed forces without a problem. Fears in those countries that permitting open service would hurt retention simply never came to pass. That's why military experts like Chairman of the Joints Chiefs Mike Mullen and former chairmen Colin Powell and John Shalikashvili support repealing DADT.
The Times tastefully illustrates the column with a "Future recruiting poster" featuring Uncle Sam telling possible recruits, "I Want YOU To Be FABULOUS!" Classy.
The Times is also featuring an op-ed from retired Col. Robert Labutta suggesting that allowing gay men to serve openly would somehow lead to an outbreak of HIV in the military. There's simply no evidence to support this conclusion -- as Labutta himself noted, active-duty personnel are regularly tested for the disease, and according to a 2003 study of the impact of the decisions to allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military in the United Kingdom, Israel, Canada, and Australia, "Not a single one of the 104 experts interviewed believed that the Australian, Canadian, Israeli, or British decisions to lift their gay bans ... increased the rate of HIV infection among the troops."
In a September 16 editorial, The Washington Times wrote that members of the military "who oppose the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) agenda are no longer welcome" if the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is repealed. From the Times' editorial:
Next week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to begin floor debate on a defense authorization bill that would repeal the Clinton-era "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and allow homosexuals to serve openly in the armed forces. Last month, a top military official offered a glimpse of how the military might look should the new policy take effect: Those serving who oppose the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) agenda are no longer welcome.
Those were the views of Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, the Army's deputy chief of staff in charge of personnel matters who spoke about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" before several hundred troops at the European Command headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany.
Servicemen should not be booted from the military because of their sincerely held religious convictions. It's unseemly for a senior officer to equate those who hold traditional values with racists and bigots. Lt. Gen. Bostick's careless words demonstrate his unsuitability to the task, and, for that reason, he should withdraw from further involvement in the Pentagon panel set to issue a report on the new policy by Dec. 1. The Senate also should reject this attempt to undermine the effectiveness, morale and morals of the military on the behalf of a radical fringe.
A Washington Times editorial attacked federal Judge Virginia Phillips's decision striking down the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. The Times argues that "Phillips demonstrated little evidence that she has any knowledge of the unique requirements of service in uniform." But it's hard to take the Times' attempt to show superior knowledge about the military seriously when the Times apparently doesn't even know the name of the military's code of criminal laws, which the Times erroneously refers to as the "Universal Code of Military Justice."
This code is actually called the "Uniform Code of Military Justice."
The Times states:
The decision rested heavily on the 2003 Supreme Court ruling that struck down the Texas sodomy law and established rights associated with the "autonomy of self that includes freedom of thought, belief, expression, and certain intimate conduct." In applying this logic to the military, Judge Phillips demonstrated little evidence that she has any knowledge of the unique requirements of service in uniform. The military is not a vehicle for actualizing the "autonomy of self," and restrictions on expression and activities are essential to the life of a serviceman. Judge Phillips noted that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" "captures within its overreaching grasp such activities as private correspondence between servicemembers and their family members and friends, and conversations between servicemembers about their daily off-duty activities." The judge seems to imply, wrongly, that being off duty is similar to being a civilian and that what troops do on their off time is not governed by the Universal Code of Military Justice. [emphasis added]
However, a Google search for "Universal Code of Military Justice" (in quotes) mainly pulls up hits for the "Uniform Code of Military Justice." Indeed, the first hit for the search is the U.S. military's Web page for the Uniform Code of Military Justice:
As Media Matters noted earlier this week, GLAAD -- the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation -- has been calling on Pro Football Weekly TV co-host Dan Hampton to apologize for saying, "The Cowboys think they are Clint Eastwood -- they're more of the Brokeback variety if you know what I'm talking about."
Hampton did just that on this week's show saying that he was "an idiot" and that he was "truly…sorry."
Noting that the government "called no witnesses" in Log Cabin Republicans v. Gates, Hot Air's Allahpundit argued that the Obama administration shirked its legal responsibility to defend the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. In fact, while President Obama has called for the repeal of DADT, the Justice Department clearly met whatever legal responsibility it has to defend DADT.
Allahpundit quotes from the district court's opinion in Log Cabin Republicans, which states, "it again must be noted that Defendants called no witnesses, put on no affirmative case, and only entered into evidence the legislative history of the Act." Allahpundit the speculated: "Sounds like the feds maybe kinda sorta wanted to lose this one, possibly to help break the logjam in the Senate. (Maybe something for the lame-duck session?)"
However, the very opinion from which Allahpundit quotes also noted the reason the government did not put on witnesses or present evidence other than the legislative history: because it contended that all such evidence was irrelevant to the case. From the opinion:
Defendants asserted relevance (and often other) objections to nearly every exhibit Plaintiff sought to introduce into evidence during trial, as well as to nearly all the testimonial evidence offered. According to Defendants, because Plaintiff challenges the constitutionality of the statute on its face, rather than challenging its application, the only evidence the Court should -- indeed may -- consider, is the statute itself and the bare legislative history; thus, according to Defendants, all other evidence is irrelevant.
Moreover, the government filed hundreds of pages of legal briefs in the case to defend DADT and has defended the policy in the Supreme Court as well.
A federal judge today ruled that the ban on gay and lesbian troops serving openly in the military is unconstitutional. As the Los Angeles Times explains, Judge Virginia A. Phillips found that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" doesn't protect military readiness but, rather, undermines it.
Specifically, Judge Phillips wrote:
Taken as a whole, the evidence introduced at trial shows that the effect of the Act has been, not to advance the Government's interests of military readiness and unit cohesion, much less to do so significantly, but to harm that interest. The testimony demonstrated that since its enactment in 1993, the Act has harmed efforts of the all-volunteer military to recruit during wartime. The Act has caused the discharge of servicemembers in occupations identified as "critical" by the military, including medical professionals and Arabic, Korean, and Farsi linguists. At the same time that the Act has caused the discharge of over 13,000 members of the military, including hundreds in critical occupations, the shortage of troops has caused the military to permit enlistment of those who earlier would have been denied entry because of their criminal records, their lack of education, or their lack of physical fitness.
Judge Phillips is correct -- the ban doesn't protect military readiness or unit cohesion. Earlier this year, Media Matters released a comprehensive document rebutting myths and falsehoods about Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Here are two of the most relevant sections:
GLAAD -- the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation -- is calling on Pro Football Weekly TV co-host Dan Hampton to apologize for saying, "The Cowboys think they are Clint Eastwood -- they're more of the Brokeback variety if you know what I'm talking about."
According to GLAAD, Hampton has already apologized this week for saying "that when the Vikings meet the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints for a rematch of last year's NFC Championship game (which the Vikings lost in overtime) they need to "go down there and hit that town like Katrina.'"
GLAAD's Aaron McQuade writes:
Hampton wasn't actually saying the Cowboys players are gay, but by making this comment, Hampton telegraphed to his audience that gay men are not good enough, just as he doesn't believe the Dallas Cowboys are good enough. Hampton was a tremendous player for the Chicago Bears throughout the 1980s, he's a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he's a television personality, and whether he likes it or not, he's a role model. Every day, millions of kids across this country are harassed, bullied and beaten because of attitudes like this. Hampton should not be using his platform to encourage homophobia.
Dan Hampton needs to apologize for this offensive and defamatory statement, just as he needed to apologize for his Katrina comment. We will be calling Pro Football Weekly to voice our concerns.
You can contact the show with your thoughts on Hampton's comments by clicking here.
As Box Turtle Bulletin's Jim Burroway writes:
By all accounts from those who have met the reclusive Doug Coe who heads the group, Coe is a very quiet and charming man. With this New Yorker article, it is evident that [The New Yorker's Peter] Boyle has fallen for Coe's charms. Boyle describes The Family as little more than a "frat house", composed in equal parts of Democrats and Republicans, Christians and Jews. In fact, he appears to have fully bought the line about The Family not being a Christian organization at all, but merely a group of people whose sole mission is to influence powerful political and business leaders "to follow Jesus." One wonders exactly how one is supposed to define Christianity better than that, and to impose its tenets, if not its theology, from the top. Boyle's description of events in Uganda are equally naïve.
When Uganda's Parliament took up a bill last year that would have punished some homosexual acts with death, ["Family" member Bob] Hunter and his friends in the Fellowship felt they had the standing to urge the proposed measure's defeat. [Uganda President Yoweri] Museveni appointed a commission that studied the matter and then recommended that the bill be withdrawn.
One wonders how Boyle managed the dexterity to write those two lonely sentences with his hands over his ears while singing "lalalala" to drown out the noise.
Nowhere does he mention that it was MP David Bahati, a key "Family" man in Uganda — a guy who organizes Uganda's version of the National Prayer Breakfast that the Family is best known for in the U.S. — who proposed the bill, stands by it, and still insists that the bill must be passed in it entirety so that they can begin "to kill every last gay person." Boyle would have you believe that the Family was responsible for the bill being dead when in fact the bill, while stalled, is still very much alive. It is currently in committee, and MP Bahati and other Ugandan Family members continue to push for its full enactment. Others however recommend that the bill be dismembered with different provisions attached to other bills with less flag-waving titles, and passed surreptitiously.
As Metro Weekly's Chris Geidner points out, Jim Burroway and Jeff Sharlet are required reading for anyone interested in covering or learning more about the secretive group and, perhaps most notably, its ties to the horrific anti-gay activity happening in Uganda:
If you don't follow Jim Burroway and the work of the folks at Box Turtle Bulletin on Uganda's anti-gay activity -- most notably the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill -- you're missing out on one of the important stories about international inequality faced by LGBT people.
If you don't follow Jeff Sharlet's work on the Family (or the Fellowship, or the folks behind the C Street house), you're missing out on great journalism about the extraordinary influence of one religious organization in American public life.
For a primer on C Street and why this story matters, check out some segments from MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show after the jump.
As he attempts to rebrand himself as a spiritual leader, Glenn Beck has surrounded himself with religious and secular figures who share a fervent opposition to the "homosexual agenda."
The battle between WorldNetDaily founder Joseph Farah and Ann Coulter over the right-wing author's decision to keynote a gathering of gay Republicans is set to take a different path on September 17.
GOProud -- the gay GOP group Coulter will be addressing -- put out the following press release indicating its board chairmen will be debating Farah, the right-wing's homophobic birther king:
Today, GOProud, the only national organization representing gay conservatives and their allies, announced it has accepted World Net Daily's offer to participate in a debate at their "Taking America Back" conference on September 17th in Miami, FL. Christopher R. Barron, Chairman of GOProud's board, will square off against World Net Daily's Joseph Farah.
"Since we announced that conservative author and columnist Ann Coulter would be headlining our Homocon 2010 in New York City, Farah has attacked GOProud, attacked Ann, and challenged our work almost every single day," said Barron. "I look forward to standing on the stage with Mr. Farah to defend GOProud, to debunk the misinformation he has spread, and to make the case for GOProud's conservative mission."
Farah and Barron have agreed to debate the thesis, "Is GOProud Conservative?"
"I welcome the opportunity to debate whether GOProud is really a conservative organization. Our work on behalf of conservative policies and conservative candidates speaks for itself," continued Barron.
The war of words between right-wing author Ann Coulter and WorldNetDaily birther king Joseph Farah just keeps raging.
It all started when Coulter agreed to headline "Homocon," a gathering of gay Republicans in New York City on September 25. GOProud -- the group sponsoring the event -- described the pundit as, "the right wing Judy Garland!" in promotional materials despite her long history of homophobia, gay baiting, and name-calling when it comes to the LGBT community.
As the real Judy Garland was spinning in her grave somewhere over the rainbow, Farah was gearing up for an attack on Coulter over the appearance.
In mid-August, Farah announced that Coulter had been axed from her role as keynote speaker at his "Taking America Back National Conference" scheduled for later this month in Miami because she had agreed to headline "Homocon."
Speaking exclusively to WorldNetDaily, his own publication, Farah revealed details of private emails between Coulter and himself.
In those emails, Coulter purportedly indicated that she was only speaking to GOProud because she was being paid and that she regularly speaks in front of audiences with which she disagrees.
Furious that details of their private email discussions had been released, Coulter attacked Farah both online and on television.
In an email to Tucker Carlson's conservative Daily Caller, Coulter wrote that Farah was going after her for "publicity alone," that she believed her emails with Farah had been "private" and that he was a "swine" and a "publicity whore" for using them. She also said that Farah, "could give less than two sh-ts about the conservative movement -- as demonstrated by his promotion of the birther nonsense."
Ultimately she reiterated her opposition to gay marriage (and her "like" of gays), concluding that Farah hadn't canceled her keynote at all – he just couldn't come up with the money to pay her booking fee.
Then, appearing on Fox News' Red Eye, Coulter went a bit further. Speaking at times in the third person, she called Farah and WorldNetDaily "fake Christians trying to get publicity."
Farah responded in a statement -- again to his WorldNetDaily -- saying, "Coulter called me a 'publicity whore' for my decision. But look who is on television talking about this – throwing mud, name-calling, smearing not only me but my entire staff. I will not engage in the kind of ad hominem attacks that have made Coulter so famous and that are making her even more of a media darling in this age of reckless anger and character assassination for the sake of entertainment. Every day, since we made this decision at WND, I thank God for giving me the clarity of mind and discernment to make the right choice."
Seeing Farah take Coulter to task for "ad hominem attacks" in an "age of reckless anger and character assassination" is pretty funny considering it is one of the many similarities the two share.
After a few days off, Farah decided to launch some "ad hominem attacks" of his own against the LGBT community in an effort to breath new life into his spat with Coulter.
In a column this week titled "The homo con continues," Farah writes that since Coulter accepted the "Homocon" headlining role other "Republicans and 'conservatives' [were] now lining up to support" GOProud.
Farah went on to say that the event "literally represents the homo conning of the Republican Party and the conservative movement" and that we are "witnessing the destruction of Washington's conservative establishment before our eyes." He sees those supporting GOProud as tacitly supporting such things as "liberty-destroying hate-crimes legislation" and "special government perks for homosexuals."
It may sound funny but it is no laughing matter for Farah -- in his eyes, he's the only one in "the Republican Party or the conservative movement standing up to this wholesale retreat on some fundamental conservative issues." He's "the only one willing to stand up for liberty as a gift of God."
Thus far, Coulter hasn't seen fit to further extend her back and fourth with Farah -- despite the birther king's best efforts.
Jeff and Heidi Wilke have a bone to pick with the Omaha World-Herald. It seems the Wilkes attempted to purchase a wedding announcement for their lesbian daughter's wedding and were flatly rejected by the paper's publisher personally.
The proud parents aren't taking the rejection lying down -- instead they have launched a Facebook group to take on their local newspaper. The group's profile description reads:
Our daughter Kristin Wilke will wed Jessica Kitzman August 20, 2011, in Northern Minnesota. We are so proud we asked to buy an announcement ad in the Omaha World Herald to share our glorious news with our friends. I am disgusted to say that the publisher himself, Terry Kroeger, called me personally to say same-gender couples are not allowed to buy announcements in the Omaha World Herald. Please call 402-444-1328 or write firstname.lastname@example.org if this action disgusts you as it does us. Over 1500 papers sell such ads in the US. Including the NYT.
A note from Kristy and Jessica:
Since starting this group, we have realized that this is now an issue much bigger than the two of us. We have heard from numerous couples who have experienced the same discriminatory policies of the OWH. Moving forward, please understand that this effort is for ALL same-gender couples seeking this right - not just our family. In that light, we ask that you keep this a positive pursuit for change, and not a personal attack on any one member of the OWH. This is about changing a policy - not destroying an organization.
Thank you for your support. We look forward to continuing this fight for equality with you!
Kristy and Jessica
Thus far the Facebook group has more than 2,250 members.
Last year a male couple was similarly rejected. The Reader reported at the time:
Marc Volenec and Peter Hamel's marriage began with a fairly typical wedding story. They had the cake, photographs, a picturesque ceremony by the ocean and a reception packed with friends and family. Everything went smoothly until the relatively minor task of posting their announcement in the daily newspaper.
Volenec said that when he called the Omaha World-Herald to post the announcement, an advertising manager told him the publication would not print announcements of same-sex marriages because they didn't want to offend subscribers or advertisers; to which Volenec replied "Well, I've been subscribing for 12 years."
"As a business decision, the Omaha World-Herald does not print same-sex marriage announcements." company spokesperson Joel Long told The Reader. He said the company's decision is not based on Nebraska's law banning gay marriage or a specific corporate policy. "We decided we're not going to do it."
What do you think? Should newspapers be in the business of deciding who gets to announce their nuptials and who doesn't?
UPDATE: World-Herald will print announcements for same-sex "legal weddings, engagements for legal weddings or anniversaries of a legal marriage"
Facing mounting criticism over his decision to refuse printing a same-sex wedding announcement, Omaha World-Herald publisher Terry Kroeger announced this afternoon a change to his newspaper's policy on the issue:
There has been quite a lot written online recently about a practice of this news organization to not accept same-sex marriage announcements.
Today we are changing that practice and setting the record straight on our approach generally toward gay and lesbian issues.
The "Celebrations" page of the Omaha World-Herald has provided a place to buy space to celebrate weddings, engagements, anniversaries and birthdays. It will continue to be just that. Celebrations announcements regarding legal weddings, engagements for legal weddings or anniversaries of a legal marriage will be welcomed, regardless of the genders of the couple. We will not run announcements regarding commitment ceremonies, partnerships and other non-marriage unions, again regardless of gender.
Some will criticize this action because they would prefer that same-sex announcements not appear in their newspaper. Others will say it doesn't go far enough. Our sense is that this change will provide for a public "celebration" of important milestones in the lives of people who take the significant steps toward legally sanctioned marriage. Iowa and four other states as well as the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriages. We will publish Celebrations announcements of marriages from those jurisdictions.
Last week, Omaha businessman Jeff Wilke called me about placing an announcement for the planned union of his daughter, Kristy, and Jessica Kitzman. Unfortunately, the conversation ended before we had a chance to fully discuss the matter. Instead, the matter went public on Facebook and generated a firestorm among folks who care passionately about the issue.
So, given that Kristy and Jessica's plans were the genesis of this controversy, let me pause here to congratulate them on their plans. Kristy, Jessica: I wish you a long and happy life together, and congratulate you and your families.
The American Family Association's Bryan Fischer is still mad at Glenn Beck for not being sufficiently anti-gay. Remember, Beck recently told his Fox News colleague Bill O'Reilly that there are "bigger fish to fry" than same-sex marriage.
Yes, Beck has a long history of pushing anti-gay misinformation, but Fischer wants more out of the right-wing host. Fischer scolds Beck in a post filled with homophobic lies and misinformation, writing:
Glenn, Glenn, wake up and smell the arsenic, my friend.
[Marriage equality is] a threat to freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of association, and worst, represents a clear and present danger to children. What were you thinking?
Glenn, Glenn, Glenn: if special rights are given to people just because they want to use the alimentary canal for sexual purposes, no social conservative will be able to criticize homosexual behavior on biblical or moral grounds without running the risk of legal punishment.
Goodbye freedom of speech and goodbye freedom of religion. You, Glenn, will have aided and abetted those who are out to destroy two of the inalienable rights God has given to men, and you don't think that's a threat to this country? Wake up and smell the toxins, my friend.
Glenn, Glenn, Glenn: what about vulnerable children who are deliberately being stuck in households headed by people who engage in unnatural sexual behavior and in households where they are going to grow up missing either the love of a mother or a father or both? Your laissez-faire view of marriage consigns such children to a deprived childhood. Do you not care about that? Do you not believe the state has a legitimate interest in their welfare? How can children suffer such damage without harm to our republic and its values?
This of course comes from the AFA and Fischer who think too many Indian-Americans are winning spelling bees and wants to deport all Muslims. Seriously.
Beck must be shaking in his boots -- imagine if he really did become a champion of LGBT equality (he hasn't) -- Fischer's head just might explode.
When it comes to reporting on the hypocrisy of public figures it seems everything is fair game except hypocrisy dealing with sexual orientation.
Sure, no reporter would have a problem disclosing that a politician who has railed against corruption is taking bribes but what about anti-gay politicians living closeted gay double lives? Good luck finding a mainstream reporter willing to break that news unless the figure is involved in some sort of sexual scandal.
In early May, National Public Radio, a supposed bastion of liberal media bias, found itself in the crosshairs of the lesbian and gay community over an online review of Outrage, a documentary chronicling the hypocrisy of prominent, purportedly closeted politicians with staunchly anti-gay voting records.
What sparked the controversy was not the documentary itself, but the fact that NPR's review failed to name names. In fact, while Nathan Lee, the review's initial author, had included the identities of those fingered in the film, NPR editors took it upon themselves to censor the review prior to publication.
That is why it was refreshing to see these comments from Marc Ambinder in Howard Kurtz's Washington Post column:
Marc Ambinder, the political junkie who writes for the Atlantic, says he suspected, like lots of insiders, that Ken Mehlman was gay.
In fact, years before the former Republican Party chairman acknowledged his sexuality to Ambinder in an interview published Wednesday, the reporter tried to find out. And, says Ambinder, he would have outed Mehlman if he had evidence.
"I would have reported it because he was in power at a time when the Republican Party was whipping up anti-gay sentiment to get votes," Ambinder says in an interview. "I'm very squeamish about outing anyone. That squeamishness certainly would have gone into the equation. But there would have been a clear and compelling reason. Even though outing would have encroached on his personal dignity, which would have made me uncomfortable, it would have been the right thing to do to hold someone in power accountable."
Ambinder is precisely right -- the fact that Mehlman helmed the Republican Party during an era when it "was whipping up anti-gay sentiment" made questions about his sexual orientation fair game.
Of course, if the issue of Mehlman's sexuality had been the chatter of "lots of insiders" as Kurtz writes, I'm curious to know if anyone other than Ambinder bothered to attempt reporting out the story.
If reporters are "squeamish" about "outing," they need to push through those feelings and do their job, just like Ambinder indicates he did before finally getting Mehlman on the record. Failure to move beyond those feelings only prolongs the current media climate where LGBT issues are seen as controversial and sexual orientation is something to be embarrassed about.
The notion that "lots of insiders" heard chatter about Mehlman being gay during his tenure at the Republican National Committee and apparently failed to practice their craft makes me squeamish.