While there are signs that neither the Obama administration nor the US Congress are in a rush to lift the damaging "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy which requires that soldiers who disclose their homosexuality be kicked out of military service, there is some great news today from Argentina.
A translated excerpt from an article published today in AG Magazine, one of the best LGBT news portals in Argentina:
In Argentina, starting today, a new military justice system goes into effect which decriminalizes homosexuality among uniformed members, eliminates the death penalty, and moves crimes committed exclusively within the military to the public justice sphere [previously there had been a separate military court system].According to the AP, the new law replaces one that had been in the books since 1958, and goes into effect today, six months after it was approved by Argentina's legislative body and promoted by President Cristina Férnandez de Kirchner.
Under the old system, gays were not permitted to have access to a military career, at the same time as this sexual orientation was penalized. And, while there are no publicly known former sanctions against gays under the old policy, this does not mean that men and women with that sexual orientation have not been disciplined, and perhaps separated from the armed forces under a mantle of silence.
In fact, with this new system, gay men or lesbian women who wish to train in the forces should encounter no impediment, nor any military retaliation areas.
Clarin says that the changes in the military code resulted, in part, from the American Convention on Human Rights strong opposition to the death penalty clause that existed in the previous code. Some see the changes as putting further distance between modern Argentina and its military dictatorship years, particularly since it puts the military under purview of the country's public courts.
One more LGBT rights development in a Latin American nation that leap-frogs over current US policy.
Blabbeando: Argentina: Ban on gay soldiers is lifted, effective todayPhilippines
Gay men can go to war with brave Filipino soldiers, a military spokesman said as he announced Wednesday that members of the third sex can apply for enlistment in the Philippine Army.
"We welcome them. We welcome everybody. We don't discriminate [gay] people here," Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner Jr., Army spokesman, told ABS-CBN's morning show, "Umagang Kay Ganda."
Brawner said as long as an applicant is physically, emotionally and mentally fit, the Army would be proud to enlist them, including gay people.
"They are allowed [and] of course they will have the same assignments. They can also go to war," the Army spokesman added.
Brawner clarified that the Army or any other units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines does not discriminate gay people, including bisexual men.
For this year, the Army needs to enlist 3,900 people. The military as a whole needs 6,700 new recruits this year, he said.
On Tuesday, hundreds of Army applicants lined up at the Army's main recruitment center in Fort Bonifacio in Makati City.
The Army said they are expecting more people to apply this year because of the massive layoff in electronics, garments and furniture factories.
Several factories have closed shop in the country because of the decreasing export demand as an effect of the global economic crisis.
Brawner said a candidate soldier receives P8,700 monthly. Training last from three months to four months, he said.
Gay men can enter the Army | ABS-CBN News Online Beta