Sunday, September 20, 2015

Obama nominates first openly gay man as Army Secretary

President Barack Obama on Sept 18th announced his plans for nominating Eric Fanning as the first openly gay Secretary of the Army. Mr. Fanning is currently the acting undersecretary of the Army and has previously served as a special assistant to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, deputy chief management officer for the Department of Navy, deputy director of the Commissions on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, and undersecretary of the Air Force.

This is not the first time that President Obama has helped in involving more homosexuals to the military since he repealed the "Don't ask, Don't tell" Act in 2011 and is currently working on how to lift the ban on transgendered individuals serving in the military. Earlier, Amanda Simpson was sworn as deputy assistant secretary of Defense for operational energy making her the highest ranking transgender official in the United States military. Despite this historic step many gay and lesbian individuals still face inequality such as not being able to accompany their spouse on overseas bases, rampant homophobia in the military, etc.

With this new move towards a more diverse military, Mike Huckabee, a GOP presidential candidate, has voiced his opposition claiming that "Homosexuality is not a job qualification". He goes on to talk about how the Obama administration is just pandering to liberals and not interested in honoring America's heros. This is despite the fact that Mr. Fanning has over decades of experience in the DoD.

Your thoughts on the move by the Obama administration?

Eric Fanning



Jared Mayerson said...

I think that it is great that President Obama is trying to help gays in the army and that he is continuing the fight for transgenders. However, as Steven said, this is only a step, not the end. There still will be homophobia in the army and back home, just like Mike Huckabee's comment. However, Mr. Huckabee's claim that President Obama is, "pandering to liberals and not interested in honoring America's heros" is not completely based. Since this is the last section of his second term as president, there is no reason for President Obama to try to please certain people. He cannot run again for a third term so he has no reason to try to win votes. At this point in time, President Obama only needs to make decisions that are best for the country; decisions like this one. Eric Fanning was qualified for the job and his sexuality should not be considered when evaluating his qualification for this job, let alone any job.

Monica Mai said...

I agree with Jared on his comment about Huckabee's claim-- Obama is not trying to appease liberals in appointing Eric Fanning for Army Secretary. It is clearly evident that Fanning has had year (decades even) of experience and expertise necessary in taking this position. Obama appointed him because as you mentioned, Fanning had been the deputy of many commissions prior to Army Secretary. Obama was not look to his homosexuality as a job qualification... Fanning is an extremely qualified man who happens to be homosexual.

I'm a little confused about Huckabee's claim though. Why would Obama appointing an openly gay man not be "honoring America's heroes?" I suspect that Huckabee anti-LGBTQ sentiments. His statement is merely to hide his bigotry. People's sexual orientation is not a job qualification. I'm extremely pleased that Obama made this move because appointing a more diverse group of people means more representation for the people. This is a good step forward in ending homophobia and a good step forward for the LGBTQ movement.