The NY Post this morning reported that Pfc Bradley Manning's defense lawyers have pleaded with the court for leniency on the grounds that Manning is gay:
A defense psychiatrist, Navy Reserve Capt. David Moulton, testified that Manning has "gender dysphoria," or the desire to be the opposite sex. Tuesday, the court-martial hearing heard how Manning, who is gay, indicated his torment in April 2010 when he sent an e-mail to Master Sgt. Paul Adkins. It bore the subject line that read “My Problem.” Attached to it was the photo Manning took of himself in a blond wig.
Yesterday, Capt. Michael Worsley, who treated Manning during his deployment in Iraq, described how Manning’s job stress was compounded by being in a “hyper-masculine environment” of a combat zone. “Being in the military and having a gender-identity issue does not exactly go hand in hand,” Worsley said.
IF Manning's homosexuality, as his defense lawyers argue, contributed to the state of mind which caused him to betray his country, and IF the court accepts this as a legitimate reason for leniency, then it is also an argument against allowing gays in the military.
I've always supported gays in the military, and never saw their sexuality as reason enough to exclude them.
But you can't have it both ways. If Manning's homosexuality contributed directly to his treasonous frame of mind, then maybe it's time to reconsider.
(My feeling: it's not an excuse, gays should remain in the military, and Manning should receive a harsh sentence. But if similar cases pile up -- which I doubt will happen -- then it is time to reconsider.)