Klingenschmitt and ‘Discrimination Against Heterosexuals’

The astonishingly stupid and thoroughly deranged Gordon Klingenschmitt doesn’t like it one bit that the Pentagon will soon announce at least some benefits to married same-sex couples in the military. And he shows that he has nothing remotely like a coherent definition of discrimination:

Sources say Panetta has not made a final decision on which benefits will be included, but the Pentagon is likely to allow same-sex partners to have access to the on-base commissary and other military subsidized stores, as well as health and welfare programs.

The military is likely to require that some type of document be signed to designate the military member’s partner as a legitimate recipient of the benefits. But Gordon Klingenschmitt, a former Navy chaplain who now runs The Pray In Jesus Name Project, tells OneNewsNow that “this is not equality.”

“This is now discrimination against heterosexuals, because when I was dating my girlfriend — even when she was engaged to be married to me — she was not allowed to enter the commissary or even get on the military base until we were legally married,” he recalls.

So let me get this straight…preventing gay couples from getting married, that’s not discrimination to Klingenschmitt. Allowing gay couples who are married to have the same benefits as straight couples who are married, that also isn’t discrimination to Klingenschmitt. But allowing married gay couples have benefits but not unmarried straight couples, that’s discrimination. Okey dokey.

20 comments on this post.
  1. eric:

    I thought one of the conservative arguments against SSM was that it wasn’t needed because civil unions were just as good. Gordo is basically now arguing against civil unions.

    Any argument in a storm, evidently. Doesn’t have to be any consistent rationale behind it, just oppose oppose oppose.

  2. John Pieret:

    I think Klingenschmitt’s “logic” is that no “True Marriage”[TM] can be had between same sex couples and, therefore, by definition, any same sex couple is the same as an unmarried heterosexual couple and the same sex couple should not get more benefits than the unmarried heterosexual couple. In short, he is begging the question.

  3. Alverant:

    A married couple (hetro or homo) has taken a vow to be together for life. It’s a legally binding contract that must be formally undone. Until that agreement is made then the couple can split at any time with less paperwork. Otherwise when do you decide when a couple is in it for the long haul and who’s just faking it so they can get in the special stores? OK that’s probably a poor example. But seriously when should the State legally recognize a couple (or 3some or more-some)? If unmarried gay couples are also denied the perks of being married, then I don’t see the discrimination.

    (Sorry if this sounds awkward, I just realized I misread the last paragraph.)

  4. steve84:

    And the boyfriends and girlfriends of gay soldiers also won’t get any benefits.

    Btw, I’m interested in what braindead moron came up with the rule that someone can’t even accompany an ID-card holder into the commissary (which is true). That makes no sense whatsoever. I get that a non-ID card having partner can not go in alone, but there absolutely no reason why they can’t go in together.

  5. freemage:

    Okay, as I understand it, Klingenschmitt (must… resist… playground… impulses) is arguing that since you have to be legally married to get the benefits thereof if you’re straight, allowing gay and lesbian soldiers to gain the same benefits just by designating a beneficiary in writing (without the usual vows, civil procedure, etc) is making it easier for gay couples to get those benefits. I used to hear this all the time in discussions of “domestic partner benefits” offered at companies for health plans. And it’s absolutely correct, so far as it goes. However, the solution is NOT to deny those benefits to gay couples. Instead, there’s two options:

    1: Offer the benefits to anyone willing to fill out the form, regardless of legal marriage status. I’ve seen a bunch of companies do this on their “domestic partner” plans–essentially, the only rule my own company has is that you have to have shared an address for one year; at that point, you can put your partner on the company health plan.

    2: Allow gay marriage, and return to the ‘must be married’ rule. One optional take on this is to have military chaplains empowered to perform a “military civil union” ceremony with all the vows and usual procedures attached, regardless of state law (essentially, treating the base as ‘federal’ property, and thus solely under federal jurisdiction for such things). Naturally, certificates from states that allow for civil unions or SSM would fulfill the requirement, just like such certificates do now for straight married couples.

  6. steve84:

    Saying anyone can declare themselves as domestic partners is short-sighted. First off, anyone can also enter an opposite-sex sham marriage. Which is hardly uncommon in the military. Precisely to get benefits, which for lower enlisted can easily make up half their salary. Not to mention being allowed to live off base. Second, there are ways to restrict things a bit like requiring to show financial interdependence (e.g. joint bank accounts, shared bills, etc.).

    In the military, there is the additional fact that people who abuse the system can be criminally prosecuted for fraud.

  7. Doug Little:

    He’s been reading Catch 22 like it’s an instruction manual again.

  8. otrame:

    I’m not at all sure how the Pentagon can do anything that acknowledges an SSM until DOMA goes bye bye. Can one of you legal types explain it? I was under the impression that DOMA prohibits any benefits from federal agencies.

  9. steve84:

    @otrame
    No it doesn’t. That’s a common misconception. DOMA “only” applies to other federal laws that use the terms “marriage” and “spouse”.

    That means that benefits that aren’t based on federal laws, but internal department regulations, can be granted. It’s how the State Department has had a domestic partnership benefits for a couple of years now. So does the civilian side of the DoD I think. And now the military does the same. An excessive number of military benefits are regulated by law and can’t be extended, but for example there is no law that explicitly regulates who can get an ID card. So they can make their own rules on that without legislative input. The military often falls back on the restrictive definition “dependent” (which is regulated by law), but it doesn’t always have to.

  10. Abby Normal:

    @steve84

    I don’t think that is correct. The text of section 3 of DOMA reads:

    In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

    [Emphasis added]

    It seems clear that DOMA applies to more than just laws. However, I don’t see anything that prevents the Pentagon from extending benefits to married couples plus anyone who meets some other criteria, like signing an agreement or possessing the right to file joint state taxes. So, the regulation would read something along the lines of: “Spouses and other qualified individuals may access the commissary.”

  11. steve84:

    Even if it applies to regulations, it’s still not to true that it restricts all benefits across the board. Which is what many people falsely believe. In the absence of a specific law a regulation is based on, a department is free to change its own rules. The problem is that most military benefits are ultimately based on laws, but not all of them are.

  12. magistramarla:

    steve84,
    You’re wrong about a non-military person not being able to accompany a military ID holder into the commissary or BX. I’ve been a military spouse for over 30 years, and I currently live in military housing.
    There is a check-in desk at the front of both stores where we show our ID and where a list is maintained for us to check in a guest, who simply must show a photo ID and sign in. Our guest is not allowed to pay for anything at the check-out, so we must do that.
    I’ve checked my adult children in when they are visiting (they no longer have dependent IDs).
    I’ve also accompanied a civilian friend who wanted to take the tour of an historic building on our military facility.
    Also, our spouses’ club welcomes fiancees to participate in our socials. One of us will give that person a ride onto the base or meet them outside of the gate to give them a lift past the gate guard.
    I’m on the executive board of the Officers’ Spouses’ Club. I’m really hoping to see the spouse of a gay military member petition to join our club. I will stand up for that person’s rights to join us and help them in every way that I can.

  13. steve84:

    @magistramarla
    I’ve read several accounts now of gay spouses having to wait in the car while their partner went shopping. I guess it’s different from base to base or service to service and some locations may have different rules.

    Note that this is different from signing a guest on to the base, which is cumbersome but possible. They were apparently able to get on base, but still couldn’t enter the commissary.

  14. Ichthyic:

    Gordon Klingenschmitt, a former Navy chaplain

    former.

    this is good.

  15. opsarchangelic:

    http://www.dailygrail.com/blogs/oparchangel2013/2013/2/The-Mayan-Skeptic-Apocalypse

  16. jamessweet:

    So there’s actually a loosely-related problem that is real: A number of employers, recognizing the inequity created by the lack of marriage equality, chose in the past decade to extend medical benefits to same sex couples living together — but only some of these employers extended the same benefits to heterosexual couples living together, which turned out to be a screw-up. It’s not a screw-up because of “discrimination against heterosexuals” per se, but rather because now that same-sex marriage is recognized in many states, what do they do? Many of these employers are saying, “Okay, now that we have marriage equality, no special exemptions: Same sex partners must be married to receive benefits as well.” Which in and of itself is only fair, but this puts people in the rather bizarre position of either losing benefits they have been enjoying for years OR getting married under duress.

    Some employers (like mine) solved the problem right when it first came up by simply extending benefits to unmarried domestic partners regardless of gender. Really, this makes a lot of sense anyway, since the same rationale for spousal benefits applies equally well for long term partners. But for the employers who lacked that foresight, there is now a bit of a mess to straighten out…

  17. jameshanley:

    I wonder what ol’ JD the Christian Fighter Pilot thinks about all this…

  18. Doug Little:

    @ jameshanley,

    Interesting avatar you have there, it looked familiar but I couldn’t put my finger on it and then I remembered that it’s from the Eveready logo. Any reason why? or did you just like the image.

  19. robertfaber:

    The rest of us are tired of listening to these assholes (those who make the discrimination claim on those and other ridiculous merits), and now we’re telling them in no uncertain terms–which quite naturally shocks them. No, we’re not discriminating based on your white skin, your christian faith, or your preference for the oppositie gender; we just want nothing to do with assholes. So if that simply feels like discrimination to you, maybe you should stop being an asshole?

  20. thebookofdave:

    Gordon really needed to brush up on his technique before attempting to pass off this pia fraus as the real thing. The notion of a woman agreeing to a second date with him (much less being his girlfriend) has no doubt induced a gigantic wave of spit-takes even among his supporters. He owes me a keyboard.

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