One woman who got a civil unioned another woman won't be kicked out of the military:
Lt. Robin R. Chaurasiya wasn't exactly asked, but she told anyway: She is a lesbian, and in a civil union with another woman.
Her commander at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, Lt. Gen. Robert R. Allardice, could have discharged her under the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Instead, he determined in February that she should remain in the Air Force because she acknowledged her sexual orientation for the purpose of "avoiding and terminating military service."
Of course someone who gets a civil union with another woman might not actually be lesbian or bi. It's very postmodern of the military to recognize that.
But how exactly do they determine whether someone gave evidence of their sexuality just to get out of the military? It seems to be at the discretion of low level officers:
In his Feb. 25 decision ending any administrative discharge action against Chaurasiya, Allardice cited a section of the "don't ask, don't tell" law that allows military commanders to keep service members on active duty if they married a person of the same sex for the purpose of getting out of the military.
Like many cases, Chaurasiya's situation is complicated. She had left active duty in 2007 after serving one year, but was recalled to active duty in 2009.
After she was sent to Scott Air Force Base, a male former service member she had once dated forwarded to her commander a group e-mail in which Chaurasiya had written that she was a lesbian.
After an investigation, Chaurasiya submitted a memorandum to her commander declaring herself a lesbian.
"I want to be respected for it, and if I am going to be disrespected I don't want to be here," Chaurasiya said in an interview.
Chaurasiya said she did not enter into the union or declare herself a lesbian to get a discharge.
"My intention is not to get out," she said. "But if I am going to be kept in and treated unfairly either from my peers or by the military itself . . . then I want to be loud about it to bring about the change, or I do not want to be here."
Is she lying? I have no idea. But going off and civil unioning someone of the same sex instead of just saying "Yep, I'm gay" should at least get her an "A" for effort.
Some people will always be looking for reasons to get out of military service, whether they're being deployed and never thought that it could happen to them, it's different from how they thought it was going to be, or four to nine years is a long time to commit oneself to a certain job and doing it at 18 makes it all the more likely that someone's going to change their mind.
Especially considering lots of 18-year-olds might not think that they have many options outside of joining the military when they're leaving high school and no one's looking to hire them what with jobs continuously being exported and the economy taking a plunge, leaving young, inexperienced workers out of luck. They might want to take their chances a bit later and get out of the military, in which case I'd say more power to them. Considering the size of our military and how haphazardly it gets used, usually just to make rich people richer, a few people leaving isn't going to put anyone at risk.
Either way, though, it seems like the military will need good gaydar as stigma associated with homosexuality drops and people see coming out as a cheap ticket back to civilian life. And then it stops being about asking and telling and starts being about whether people are actually gay or bi.
And isn't that what DADT was supposed to avoid in the first place? Maybe in 1993 it could be assumed that no one would say they were gay unless they actually were. In 2010? Not so much.