Homosexual Personnel Policy in the Canadian Forces: Did Lifting the Gay Ban Undermine Military Performance?

By Belkin, Aaron; McNichol, Jason | International Journal, Winter 2001 | Go to article overview

Homosexual Personnel Policy in the Canadian Forces: Did Lifting the Gay Ban Undermine Military Performance?


Belkin, Aaron, McNichol, Jason, International Journal


AS THE NUMBER OF COUNTRIES THAT PERMIT GAY and lesbian soldiers to serve in the armed forces grows, it is increasingly important to determine whether official decisions to include homosexual service members in the military lead to changes in organizational performance. Although most member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), along with a handful of other nations, allow gay and lesbian soldiers to serve, there has been little empirical analysis of whether the decision to lift a gay ban influences the ability of armed forces to pursue their missions. Theoretical studies have addressed this topic, but there has been no in-depth empirical work on the consequences of a decision to lift a gay ban.

Canada is a case in point. A few careful studies appeared in the immediate aftermath of Canada's decision in 1992 to abolish restrictions on gay and lesbian soldiers. However, the long-term impact of the new policy could not be determined in those early studies, and even the most thorough analyses was based on few sources.(f.1) In 1993, an American officer, Lt Gen Calvin Waller, stated that because Canada had not been involved in armed conflict since the ban was lifted: 'We really do not know what those results are going to be.'(f.2) Our rationale for considering the evidence that has accumulated over the eight years since the ban was lifted is that senior Canadian officials predicted that changing the policy might compromise military effectiveness. Hence, the Canadian experience affords an opportunity to assess the impact of the policy change against early forecasts by senior military leaders. After discussing the historical evolution of homosexual personnel policy in Canada, we examine whether Canada's decision to abolish restrictions on gay and lesbian soldiers influences military effectiveness. Our findings, based on a review of primary and secondary sources, as well as interviews with 29 military personnel and experts from the academic, non-governmental, and policy communities, is that Canada's decision to lift its gay ban had no impact on military performance, readiness, cohesion, or morale.(f.3)

HISTORICAL EVOLUTION OF HOMOSEXUAL PERSONNEL POLICY

Before 1988, gays and lesbians were prohibited from serving in the Canadian Forces. The military did not allow openly gay recruits to enlist, dismissed soldiers who were discovered to be homosexual, and required service members who suspected another soldier of being gay to inform their commanding officer. The pre-1988 policy, outlined in regulation CFAO 19-20, 'Homosexuality-Sexual Abnormality-Investigation, Medical Examination and Disposal,' stated: 'Service policy does not allow homosexual members or members with a sexual abnormality to be retained in the Canadian forces.(f.4)

Military policy dealing with homosexual service members came under increasing judicial and political scrutiny after the passage of the Canadian Human Rights Act in 1978 and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1985. Although the Human Rights Act did not cover sexual orientation explicitly, it did require employers to justify exclusionary or restrictive policies. Nor was sexual orientation included in the enumerated list of prohibited grounds for discrimination in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 15 of the charter did, however, allow the restriction of other forms of discrimination if the courts so ruled.

A Department of Justice review of federal regulations in 1985 determined that the Canadian Forces were in potential violation of the equal rights provisions of the charter in a number of areas, including discrimination against gays and lesbians. In response to the Department of justice findings, the Department of National Defence (DND) conducted a survey of 6,580 soldiers, which found that military personnel, particularly men, were strongly against removing the gay ban. Service members expressed concern about all aspects of serving with gays and lesbians: 62 per cent of male soldiers stated that they would refuse to share showers with or undress or sleep in the same room as a gay soldier, and 45 per cent declared that they would refuse to work with gays. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Homosexual Personnel Policy in the Canadian Forces: Did Lifting the Gay Ban Undermine Military Performance?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.