Conservative activists are expressing disappointment that the Trump administration is continuing President Obama’s sexual revolution agenda for the military by, among other moves, hosting an LGBT pride celebration on Monday at the Pentagon.
Mr. Obama began the special Pentagon event in 2012. The Defense Department sent out a memo on June 2 saying the tradition would continue and encouraging LGBT pride celebrations.
Social conservatives were hoping such official LGBT gatherings would be scaled back in favor of more talk about combat readiness, not constant social change within the ranks.
“The Trump administration should discontinue funding and directing personnel resources for special-interest events, including LGBT-Pride Month events in June, which do not strengthen military readiness,” said a statement by nearly 100 members of the Conservative Action Project.
Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, said the Trump administration is letting Obama holdovers at the Defense Department dictate open policies for the LGBT community.
“CMR has learned that President Trump has not proclaimed June to be LGBT Pride month, which is good news,” Mrs. Donnelly said in a message to members. “Activists and Obama holdovers in the Pentagon, however, are proceeding anyway, as if the election never happened.”
Said retired Army Lt. Gen. William Boykin, a Delta Force combatant and social conservative activist: “I was hoping that the Trump administration would put less emphasis on everything that does not contribute directly to enhanced readiness and war fighting.”
Conservatives’ yearning for traditional family values at the Pentagon was bolstered by the appointment of former Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis as defense secretary. The no-nonsense field commander had expressed doubts about constant social engineering for a force that was supposed to focus on winning wars.
But conservative hopes were dashed with the June 2 in-house news report wholeheartedly endorsing LGBT Pride Month and announcing the celebration.
“The struggles, sacrifices and successes among the LGBT community continue to shape our history and remind us to uphold tolerance and justice for all,” said a memo from Anthony M. Kurta. He is a career federal government executive who is filling in as the Pentagon’s top personnel undersecretary during a slowed process to get Mr. Trump’s management team in place.
“During the month of June, let us celebrate the diversity of the DoD workforce and rededicate ourselves to equity, dignity and respect for all,” Mr. Kurta said.
The Pentagon press service article was issued with artwork: a pro-LGBT poster for 2017.
“Most conservatives, and especially the Christian communities, anticipated Mr. Trump’s team would stop the social engineering wrecking ball President Obama brought to the Pentagon,” said Robert Maginnis, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council.
Mr. Maginnis, a retired Army officer, wrote the book “Deadly Consequences: How Cowards are Pushing Women into Combat.”
“The administration’s failure to stop the celebration of homosexual victories in our armed forces disappoints many of those of us who rallied around Mr. Trump,” he said. “It could be Secretary Mattis and his team are too focused on other important issues to pay much attention to reversing Obama’s wrongheaded social engineering train.”
At his confirmation hearing, Mr. Mattis did not criticize the military’s far-reaching sexual revolution. Mr. Obama opened the ranks to gays in 2011 and last year permitted transgender troops to stay in the military instead of facing discharge. Mr. Mattis said his operating rule is not to change a policy unless someone demonstrates it is causing problems.
The Conservative Action Project statement was signed by such noted conservatives as Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; L. Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center; Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips; and American Values President Gary L. Bauer.
“Conservative leaders strongly support the principle of peace through strength and therefore the need for immediate action to return the priority of the Department of Defense to restoring America’s military readiness and ending costly and distracting social engineering,” their statement said.
Matt Thorn, interim executive director of OutServe-SLDN, which aids LGBT troops, said the observance of pride month is similar to designating specific months to honor other groups.
“That’s always the rhetoric that is going to come out of the far right,” Mr. Thorn said. “The Pentagon in particular is comprised of women, African-Americans, Latinos. The Pentagon celebrates Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and celebrates the contributions that service members who come from diverse backgrounds contributed to the military. They’re treating LGBT people just like they would treat anybody else. I don’t see what the problem is there.”
• Rowan Scarborough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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