We had a great discussion in the earlier post, but the comments got too long for Typepad to handle easily. If anyone still wants to discuss the subject, this section is provided for that purpose.
I want to compliment the group, because there was very little of the unpleasantness that often characterizes discussions of this topic. It's good to see a frank and honest exchange on a tricky subject conducted with honor. I hope you'll continue that here.
There were some very good arguments raised on both sides in the earlier section. Since we need a new discussion section anyway, I want to raise a couple of the best ones up top, both for and aganist repeal.
Integrity: "We've both argued that trust is a major factor in small unit cohesion. Trust requires integrity, and I think the requirement to lie about oneself as a precondition to giving of oneself fatally injures that integrity."
Counterintelligence: Against my earlier assertion that there appeared to be no benefit to the military itself, a point was raised that there is a counterintelligence benefit. Insofar as this reduces the possibility of gays being blackmailed, it eliminates one of the traditional means for a spy agency to penetrate our security.
The only combination that can eliminate sexual tension in small units: [I]ntroducing sexuality into human relationships fundamentally changes them, in a way that invariably makes them less rational.... It's a powerful part of human nature that operates often at a subconscious level; it can be very difficult to control even for those with pure professionalism. It can be eliminated from the unit entirely, but only in the case of a single-sex, non-homosexual unit; any other combination doesn't work.
The slippery-slope argument: A slippery slope argument is an informal fallacy, which many people take to mean that it's a bad argument. A fallacy isn't necessarily a bad argument: a fallacy is merely an argument whose truth is not guaranteed by logic. The truth of the argument has to be established on other grounds.
Several of you provided grounds that suggest the slipperiness of this particular slope is real by showing that other changes would need to follow immediately on repeal. Cassandra pointed out that "Congress will have to repeal the part of the UCMJ that deals with fornication (sex outside marriage) because gays can't marry in a lot of states. Single heteros can marry if they want to have sex w/out violating the UCMJ. What do we tell single gays? To give up on sex?" JohnAGJ (who was arguing, I should make clear, in favor of repeal) pointed out another change that would have to follow, which is the anti-sodomy regulations. That one may be perfectly reasonable; and whether or not it is defensible after Lawrence is unclear to me. Still, the point is that this change won't by itself settle the issue: it'll force several additional changes, some of which will have second-order effects on the military as a whole. Some of these may be positive (e.g., the sodomy ban is probably best dispensed with anyway); some of them may be quite negative, and impact discipline across the force.
In any case: Thank you for your courtesy and thoughtful discussion. Feel free to continue the topic in this section.