By Mark Sweet, ESQ

Lady Gaga claims that she wore her dress made of meat in order to bring attention to the plight of gay people serving in our military.  Her reasoning is that “It has many interpretations, but for me this evening, it's 'If we don't stand up for what we believe in, we don't fight for our rights, pretty soon we're gonna have as much rights as the meat on our bones.'"  While her dedication to equal rights is commendable, a dress made of meat does seem a bit odd.  However, what’s important is if the dress actually made an impact on the don’t ask don’t tell policy.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Don’t ask, don’t tell is the common term for the policy that restricts United States military from trying to discover or reveal closeted gay, lesbian and bisexual service members or applicants.  The issue is that openly gay, lesbian or bisexual people are barred from serving in the military.  This policy, understandably, has been the topic of much debate.  Since 1993, over 13,000 troops have been dismissed under the don’t ask don’t tell policy.

Issues With Repealing the Law

Lately there has been a groundswell of opinion to overturn the don’t ask, don’t tell policy.  On May 27, 2010 the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Murphy amendment. The reasoning for the amendment is to study the effect of repealing the law.  This doesn’t mean that they will necessarily repeal the law, but rather, just to study the affect of repealing it.

What Law Rules?

While there are few laws that could be applied solely to gay, lesbian or bisexual people in a private workforce, the military is a bit different.  The military is governed by military law which has different policies and regulations.  In fact, military tribunals rarely follow the exact same rules as a regular court.

What do you think, should openly gay, lesbian or bisexual people be able to serve in the military? Did Lady Gaga help the cause?

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