Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tell the White House: No Medal for Pace

What do you get for calling LGBT Americans immoral and supporting the continued firing of gay Americans?

If you're retired General Peter Pace, you get a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The White House announced today that Pace, a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, will be honored with one of our country's highest honors, despite maligning lesbian and gay Americans in uniform.

In May 2007, Pace sparked a furor (and deservedly so) when he told The Chicago Tribune that he supported the federal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on lesbian and gay personnel because, in his view, gay service members are "immoral," and the military is not "well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way."

Pace's remarks resulted in quick condemnation from LGBT allies in Congress (such as Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton) and were even denounced by conservative lawmakers like Senator John Warner of Virginia, who said he "strongly disagreed" with Pace's views. Defense Secretary Robert Gates also distanced himself from Pace's statement, saying that, "I think personal opinion really doesn't have a place here," and acknowledging that Pace should not have expressed his personal views during the course of a conversation about military policy.

Pace, however, never apologized for his remarks, despite outraging many gay service members, like former Navy Petty Officer Jason Knight, who was dismissed from the military after speaking up in response to Pace's interview.

Now, President Bush is preparing to honor the military's self-appointed "moral monitor" with an honor traditionally reserved for those who defend freedom . . . not those who try to deny it to millions of people.

Tell President Bush: Honoring General Pace for using his personal prejudice to meddle with military matters is just plain wrong. There should be no medal for bigotry and intolerance.

Update: Join the discussion about Pace's medal over at My Normal Gay Life, the blog at The Baltimore Sun and on Spencer Ackerman's blog at Think Progress.

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