DAILY POST OUR VIEW: Gays in the Armed Forces
FIVE homosexual members of the armed forces, who were dismissed because of the then complete ban on homosexuality before 2000, were yesterday awarded a total of pounds 350,000 by the European Court of Human Rights.
Yet when they enlisted in the Army, the RAF and the Royal Navy, all five must have known of the existence of what was a blanket ban, and been only too aware that, if their sexuality was ever disclosed, their jobs and careers would disappear.
When the ban was introduced, the thinking was that it was undesirable for homosexuals to serve alongside heterosexuals in that it might compromise discipline and morale.
In less homophobic and more enlightened times, it is considered, quite rightly, that people's private lives and sexual orientation are irrelevant on the battlefield and in no way reflect adversely on their ability to serve or their courage.
Indeed many famous and courageous warriors and military geniuses including Alexander the Great and Lawrence of Arabia are reputed, correctly or otherwise, to have had bisexual, if not homosexual orientations, yet their deeds remain the stuff of legend and their reputations intact.
Wilfred Owen, this country's greatest and most profound war poet, who was killed in the closing days of World War I, was also gay. …