A friend directed me to this Newsweek article by a gay Israeli solider.

It was fitting timing, really, since this morning I found a new Facebook group called “1,000,000 people who know the state’s permission isn’t needed for marriage” and became enraged when I read their brilliant solution: All you need is a few witnesses and call it a common law marriage. Listen, I’m all for the symbolic meaning for marriage as much as the next romantic sap, but we’re dealing with messy bureaucratic red tape here.

While I appreciate the sentiment, it doesn’t exactly hold weight in a courtroom, a hospital, or when signing adoption papers. A even when we think we have the legal circus figured out, we manage to find some situation where we don’t have the right paperwork and things go terribly awry. While our straight counterparts fly through the system with the greatest of ease, we have to constantly manuveur and jump through hoops.

So when I read Yoni Schoenfeld’s article, this passage struck a particular chord:
“As Israelis, we are taught from a young age to admire the United States. The American dream offers an alternative to the somewhat harsh reality of life in the Middle East. But that dream has been betrayed by the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that governs gay and lesbian service in the U.S. military.”

As you may or may not know, Israel does not have a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy in their military. And while gay marriage is not legal in Israel, at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if they beat us to it. (Along with Mexico City, Portgual, and South Africa, thank you very much.) And at the very least, each person in the country is given the opportunity to serve in the military, without fear of being outed and discharged. The only fear that should prevade in combat is the fear of death or injury – not who the guy or girl next to you is screwing.

The observation has been made that the cruel irony is that our government has towed the great freedom of democracy line all over Iraq and yet, some of our soliders serve there with that fear of being outed and kicked out. Personally, I would never volunteer for service, particularly in this climate, but each person should be able to make his or her own choice.

After all, isn’t that we claim to the rest of the world?