Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch is saying today that his comments yesterday on MSNBC, which seemed to some to be very critical of the military's Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell ban on gays in the military, were misunderstood.
He didn't say explicitly that he would vote to remove the policy, but I'm shocked--SHOCKED--that Hatch is shocked--SHOCKED--that people got that idea from the following comments.
Hatch reminds me a lot of my father, so let me try to translate sentence by sentence for you all. ---
Hatch: I believe there are very outstanding, patriotic gay people who serve in the military and they ought to be given credit for it.
You see, to people like Hatch, merely saying a sentence like this is already giving "credit" to the gays, perhaps more than they deserve. I mean, gosh, he did go out on a limb and call them patriotic. What more do they want? They're gay people, after all. How much credit do you think they actually deserve?
Hatch: And they shouldn't have to lie about being gay.
That's merely plank one of Don't Ask Don't Tell. To a guy like Hatch, if you are never asked about being gay, you don't have to lie about it. Lies by omission don't count to these guys. They can't conceive of never, ever, never mentioning their families and wives at work, much less at war. How could they conceive of it? It's an ungodly myriad of lies one engages in by being in the closet (lies by omission are only the beginning) but it's hard to know that unless you or a loved one has actually been in it.
Hatch: On the other hand, I think a lot of people are concerned that if you do away with the 'don't ask, don't tell,' that literally then they'll come back and ask for special rights and preferences and privileges that others don't have.
You know, special rights like not being fired for reasons that are totally removed from job performance. To guys like Hatch, being fired for being straight is an almost inconceivable thought experiment so the idea that "straight" is a protected sexual orientation barely makes sense (he's not alone-I'm looking at you Governor Herbert). It never occurs to them that failing to instal anti-discrimination policies for gays and lesbians is actually preserving special rights for homophobes.
You know what? I'm trying to be the Hatch translator guru, and even I don't understand what sort of "preferences and privileges" he's talking about, but my guess is he means being housed with your gay lover or something. Which I don't think gay groups are demanding, so that's kind of a straw man.
Hatch: So, like I say, I just plain do not believe in prejudice of any kind.
Again, to guys like Hatch, merely saying something like this makes it true. The fact that DADT is patently prejudicial escapes him.
So I think it's pretty funny that Hatch is shocked--SHOCKED--that he was misunderstood. I mean, he was pretty clear, right?