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Gay man backed for Navy secretary?

Some top retired military leaders and some Democrats in Congress are backing William White, chief operating officer of the Intrepid Museum Foundation, to be the next secretary of the Navy — a move that would put the first openly gay person at the top of one of the services.

The secretary’s job is a civilian position, so it would not run afoul of the ban on gays serving in the military, but it would renew focus on the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy as President-elect Barack Obama prepares to take office… (Washington Times)

Very interesting news. White serves as Chief Operating Officer of the Intrepid Museum Foundation and is on the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee of this worthy group as well as the Fisher House Foundation. He also is involved in many other charitable efforts and has been for years. While all of this is definitely praiseworthy, I’m not sure how this would make him qualified for the job. Still, he does sound like someone I’d find to be an excellent candidate to appoint to something were I the president. The fact that he’s gay is intriguing considering DADT. Were he to become SecNav, it give more push to repeal the ban against gays serving in the military. Elaine Donnelly and other DADT proponents have good reason to be afraid of the possibility.

The question remains, however, will Obama give White the nod or will it be someone else? We shall see. Regardless, it is very encouraging to know that White is backed by many retired senior officers. My, how times have changed…

— John (Average Gay Joe)

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12 Comments

  1. Interesting indeed, I can’t predict what Obama will do, but if White is a competent candidate, I will respect his choosing him.
    I think repealing DADT will do a lot of good in changing the public’s perception of gays. This would be a good move in that direction.

    Comment by Leah — December 18, 2008 @ 8:47 pm - December 18, 2008

  2. If White is competent for the job, fine. His sexual orientation matters not a fig and is not newsworthy. Do we say that Obama picked HETEROSEXUAL Ray LaHood to be Transportation Secretary? No. Nor should we mention White’s sexual orientation. Additionally, by what logic does the fact that the putative SecNav-select is a tad “light in his loafers” necessarily imply that DoD must now review its DADT policy? Bottom line: Open homosexuals simply do not belong in the uniformed services. Homosexuals who truly care for their country should back this proposition whole-heartedly: If they want to serve, then keep their homosexuality in the closet until they separate or retire.

    Comment by gunjam — December 18, 2008 @ 9:27 pm - December 18, 2008

  3. With all due respect, a gay Navy secretary will do NOTHING to change the general public’s perception of homosexuals. If you shouldn’t disqualify someone because they are gay, why would it be good to appoint this guy if he is gay? Personally, I’d rather know his qualifications rather than his sexual preference. Please don’t call me a hater or intolerant or stupid because I am none of those things.

    Comment by flower — December 18, 2008 @ 9:41 pm - December 18, 2008

  4. The fact that he’s gay is intriguing considering DADT.

    That gives him cover for when he doesn’t do anything to repeal it (at least anytime soon). He can say “Yeah, but I appointed a fa…oops! gay man to SecNav!”.

    This is similar to the al-Qaeda Times suddenly realizing that there’s some bad characters at Club Gitmo, just before the election. When he doesn’t close it, because he knows damn well that he can’t, he can point to the Times as a reason why.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — December 18, 2008 @ 11:37 pm - December 18, 2008

  5. I have but one concern about this possible nominee: He is openly gay. That makes him an an automatic flash point with current policy. Let Obama erase DADT first. If Obama wishes to have an openly gay person in a high appointed position, how about a place where the openly gay appointee can fail or succeed on the basis of merit without raising a cultural/political fuss attendant to his personal “status.”

    The Navy is beyond significant to the general welfare. It has many important challenges on its plate. It is not the place or time to fight an internal culture war.

    Comment by heliotrope — December 19, 2008 @ 10:38 am - December 19, 2008

  6. If William White is qualified for the position that and only that is what matters.

    I am under no delusion that the Democratic Congress and the Democratic President will ever repeal DADT. There will be the usual excuses of there was too much to do in the first term and the economy and foreign policy issues took place and NObama will wait until the second term for that to happen.

    Nobama has consistently proven to me that he is no friend of the Gay community. Lets see he talks out of both sides of his mouth on issues, has the likes of Donnie McClurkin and now has Rick Warren give the Inaugural invocation (yeah, there is change I can believe in…with a guy who equates Gays to pedophiles, incest, sex with animals and pologomists)

    Nobama throws us under the bus once again and some how the Gay community is shocked…..will we ever learn? Channelling Bill Clinton anyone?

    Let’s see Clinton gave us DADT and DOMA and Nobama throws us under the bus once again and he isn’t even President yet….oh yeah, there is Change we all can believe in and the Audadity in the Hope the Chosen One has promised us all.

    Followed by well of course Caroline Kennedy didn’t vote at all, she is a busy Mom….oh wait, busy Moms like Sarah Palin can’t be VP but wait busy Moms like Caroline Kennedy must help save us all in the US Senate…but then I digress…

    Comment by Rocket — December 19, 2008 @ 11:18 am - December 19, 2008

  7. oops..the given I forgot to mention is if Mr. White is NOT qualified for the position of Navy Secretary, then he should NOT be nominated for the position.

    Comment by Rocket — December 19, 2008 @ 11:19 am - December 19, 2008

  8. White certainly seems qualified to be a service secretary, which is an administrative post dealing with things like budgets and organizing resources.

    The fact that he is gay is really a non-issue since the Secretary of the Navy is far removed from naval operations and is not even part of the chain of command. If we were talking about Chief of Naval Operations, now that would be a different matter and would impact on the DADT debate.

    Comment by Jack Allen — December 19, 2008 @ 1:01 pm - December 19, 2008

  9. The fact that he is gay is really a non-issue since the Secretary of the Navy is far removed from naval operations and is not even part of the chain of command.

    Fine. If the fact that he is gay is a non-issue, then why is it being discussed.

    Are we to believe that the time has arrived when a gay man can become Secretary of the Navy and no one will give it a second thought? Not even gays who would lobby the man to do something about DADT?

    I guess a gay Post Master General and a gay Secretary of the Navy are no different. I guess Average Gay Joe didn’t write:

    The fact that he’s gay is intriguing considering DADT. Were he to become SecNav, it give more push to repeal the ban against gays serving in the military.

    Comment by heliotrope — December 19, 2008 @ 3:19 pm - December 19, 2008

  10. #3 – No offense taken. I am firmly in your corner on this one.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — December 19, 2008 @ 3:49 pm - December 19, 2008

  11. DONOFRIO/WROTNOWSKI IS NOT DEAD — IT IS AIRTIGHT — THE SUPREMES KNOW IT BUT ARE AFRAID TO ACT — SO THE EXECUTIVE AND/OR THE PEOPLE WILL DO SO — EASY WAY TO MAKE SURE OBAMA NEVER GETS INAUGURATED — HERE’S HOW (READ CAREFULLY):–

    Since the Supreme Court has now prevented itself from acknowledging the question of whether Barack H. Obama is or is not an Article II “natural born citizen” based on the Kenyan/British citizenship of Barack Obama’s father at the time of his birth (irrespective of whether Barack Obama is deemed a “citizen” born in Hawaii or otherwise) as a prerequisite to qualifying to serve as President of the United States under the Constitution — the Court having done so at least three times and counting, first before the Nov 4 general election and twice before the Dec 15 vote of the College of Electors — it would seem appropriate, if not necessary, for all Executive Branch departments and agencies to secure advance formal advice from the United States Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel as to how to respond to expected inquiries from federal employees who are pledged to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” as to whether they are governed by laws, regulations, orders and directives issued under Mr. Obama during such periods that said employees, by the weight of existing legal authority and prior to a decision by the Supreme Court, believe in good faith that Mr. Obama is not an Article II “natural born citizen”.

    Comment by Ted — December 19, 2008 @ 9:24 pm - December 19, 2008

  12. Do we say that Obama picked HETEROSEXUAL Ray LaHood to be Transportation Secretary? No. Nor should we mention White’s sexual orientation.

    Is LaHood the first openly heterosexual to serve in the Cabinet, or at least as a service secretary? No. Like it or not, these things do matter to some degree. Is this characteristic of White the reason to choose him? Absolutely not. Yet you cannot tell me with a straight face that Bush Sr. chose Clarence Thomas solely because of his record with his race not factoring at all in the nomination.

    Additionally, by what logic does the fact that the putative SecNav-select is a tad “light in his loafers” necessarily imply that DoD must now review its DADT policy?

    Simply put: it doesn’t. I was speaking of politics, not policy. Besides, it’s not up to DoD but Congress. DoD cannot make or repeal laws.

    Bottom line: Open homosexuals simply do not belong in the uniformed services. Homosexuals who truly care for their country should back this proposition whole-heartedly: If they want to serve, then keep their homosexuality in the closet until they separate or retire.

    Bottom line: you’re wrong and such views as yours are slowly being seen for the nonsense that they are.

    That gives him cover for when he doesn’t do anything to repeal it (at least anytime soon). He can say “Yeah, but I appointed a fa…oops! gay man to SecNav!”.

    I hate to say it, but you are probably right. I expect very little from Obama. If he manages to get the ban repealed, great. I’ll be surprised and cheer for him then. Right now I have my doubts about what he’ll do.

    Fine. If the fact that he is gay is a non-issue, then why is it being discussed.

    For the same reason we as a nation talked about Obama & Clinton during the campaign: the possibly first black or first woman president. The difference here is that we could have a SecNav who is gay while a ban against gays openly serving is in place. That would like having a black SecNav while segregation was still in place.

    Don’t misunderstand me in this: I would not support White if he wasn’t qualified, regardless of his sexuality. I never heard of him before this article, I was more surprised and pleased to read about his charitable efforts. This goes especially for Fisher House, a VERY worthy group. Does this mean he is a good pick for SecNav? Beats me. Yet if many retired senior officers support him that’s a plus. Heck, even if he isn’t good for the job, the fact that they support an openly gay man for the job is significant in itself. I never heard this 10-20 years ago. That was my point about his possible nomination and DADT: if he were confirmed his service could politically help opponents to the ban against gays. Whether you agree with DADT or not to dispute that fact seems ridiculous to me. I believe this is why Elaine Donnelly is so vehemently opposed to him.

    Comment by John — December 20, 2008 @ 6:45 pm - December 20, 2008

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