Assessing Homosexual Acceptance; Congress Should Reimpose Ban If Data Spell Trouble

Article excerpt


This year or next, the U.S. military is supposed to begin a policy experiment - the accommodation of homosexual behavior within its ranks. The key word from the previous sentence is experiment. America's history is full of policy experiments and adjustments, such as the repeal of taxes, younger drinking ages and smoking within public buildings. The recent policy accommodation of homosexual conduct should be viewed in the same light. Rather than relying upon the previous speculations of competing interest groups, the new Congress should collect data over the next several years and perform an evidence-based policy review.

For example, previous concerns about homosexual servicemen and HIV could be addressed and measured with accuracy. Evidence from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has suggested that the rate of new HIV diagnoses among males who engage in sex with males (MSM) in the U.S. is more than 44 times that of other males. That report also notes that the MSM behavior group is the only risk group in which new HIV infections are increasing.

A former military serviceman offered me an external-factor explanation for the spread of HIV among homosexuals. This homosexual stated that while he was in the service, he had been responsible with his romantic actions. Regrettably, his HIV-positive partner had lied to him about having HIV, and eventually the partner transmitted the HIV to him. Vigilant behavior was negated by private lies.

This anecdote, together with the aforementioned statistical evidence, suggests that the political endorsement of military men engaging in sex with males will likely increase the number of military men who acquire HIV. Unfortunately, once military members contract HIV, they must be retained but only in non-deployable status, assigned to U.S. territory. This suggests that the number of military members available for deployments will decline as a result of accommodating MSM behavior.

A thorough policy review of homosexual accommodation should calculate the costs of military HIV treatments in addition to their deployment impact. Previous estimates have stated the cost of treating a person with HIV to be at least $25,000 per year. Indirect costs also could be estimated, such as lost duty time and additional testing. Will medical costs rise and deployment capability fall as a result of accommodation of homosexual behavior? Rather than conjecture, robust information could be obtained by evaluating military records. …