With homosexuals now free to serve openly in the U.S. military it didn't take long for a gay officer to climb to the top of the commissioned ranks. Star and Stripes, the Defense Department's semi-official newspaper, proudly reported that the Army has promoted its first homosexual officer to general status. “Army reserve officer Tammy Smith calls her recent promotion to brigadier general exciting and humbling, saying it gives her a chance to be a leader in advancing Army values and excellence,” reported the military newspaper. The paper added that the ceremony August 10, at which Smith was officially promoted, “marks an important milestone for gay rights advocates, giving the movement its most senior public military figure. She has already been assigned as deputy chief at the Office of the Chief at the Army Reserve, and spent much of 2011 serving in Afghanistan.”
In its report on the story, the Los Angeles Times noted that during Smith's promotion ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, her “proud wife placed a star insignia on her spouse's uniformed shoulder — the official mark of an Army brigadier general.” According to the New York Times, Smith, a 26-year Army veteran, married homosexual activist Tracey Hepner in March 2011, after they had dated for nine years. The Times reported that Hepner is the founder of an organization called Military Partners and Families Coalition, which, its website explains, exists to provide “support, resources, education, and advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender military partners and their families.”
While the Army made Smith unavailable for comment on the singular occasion, in a press release the Defense Department quoted her as explaining her wife's presence by saying that “participating with family in traditional ceremonies such as the promotion is both common and expected of a leader.”
Stars and Stripes pointed out that Smith has attempted to downplay her notoriety as the first openly homosexual general in the U.S armed forces. Smith insisted that such a fact is “irrelevant. I don’t think I need to be focused on that. What is relevant is upholding Army values and the responsibility this carries.”
The irony of that comment is that, up until the dismantling of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” (DADT) in 2011, homosexual behavior had been considered a violation of the values of America's fighting force since the nation's founding. But the Defense Department has somehow turned homosexuality into a lifestyle worthy of celebration among pockets of the military. For example, as reported by The New American, in June Defense Secretary Leon Panetta released a video thanking homosexual military personnel for their service to the nation — both during and since the repeal of DADT. “As we recognize pride month, I want to personally thank all of our gay and lesbian service members, LGBT civilians and their families for their dedicated service to our country,” Panetta said. “Before the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ you faithfully served your country with professionalism and courage. And just like your fellow service members, you put your country before yourself. And now after the repeal, you can be proud of serving your country and be proud of who you are in uniform.”
In July, as reported by The New American, Panetta followed up that congratulations by allowing military personnel to march in uniform in a San Diego “gay pride parade,” an act that is banned by military regulations. After the event U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, fired off a letter to Panetta asking him why he offered a waiver of that prohibition to homosexual personnel, while at the same time allowing a Navy chaplain to be punished for wearing his uniform to a pro-life event, or a Marine for attending a Ron Paul campaign event in his uniform.
“If the Navy can punish a chaplain for participating in a pro-life event or a Marine for participating in a political rally, it stands to reason that the Defense Department should maintain the same standard and preclude service members in uniform from marching in a gay pride parade,” Inhofe challenged Panetta.
In a separate statement, Inhofe expressed his concern that the Obama administration “continues to force its liberal social agenda on the military by promoting the homosexual agenda, mandating the use of high-cost green energy initiatives, pursuing abortion rights, and suppressing the free exercise of religious liberties.”
Commenting on the Defense Department's double standard, Col. Ron Ray, USMC (Ret.), a deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration, noted that there is a “two-hundred-year history of Christian prayer as an edifying and educational foundation for our combat troops. Chaplains are now warned that they cannot pray in Jesus’ name, and combat leaders are instructed not to pray with their troops.” By contrast, said Ray, “there is a two month history of open homosexual political activity in the military, and senior Pentagon officials are calling this grand social experiment 'participating with family in traditional ceremonies.' Soldiers in uniform continue to be officially banned from political activity, but the standards appear to change based on whether we are talking about sodomy or religious liberty.”