[EDITORIALS]Army no place for gaysThe Defense Ministry is considering scrapping or easing some regulations on homosexuality inside the military. In addition, the ministry is thinking about a policy of transferring a conscript who has difficulty adjusting to his unit to another unit.
The ministry was criticized for giving draft exemptions to the national baseball team, which advanced to the semi-finals of the World Baseball Classic, and now it seems determined to loosen discipline.
It is necessary to make efforts to reduce bias and discrimination toward homosexuals, following the global trend. There would be no problem if homosexuals did not “come out” and finished their military service without much trouble. It is desirable for the ministry to have guidelines forbidding the forced taking of blood samples or AIDS testing and prohibiting physical violence towards homosexuals, in the name of human rights.
But homosexuality is unacceptable inside the military. Barracks are exclusive places for men. If homosexuality is allowed, it will ruin the atmosphere and then what kind of discipline could be established? Current military criminal law dictating that male homosexuals face a prison sentence not exceeding a year should not be abolished. Military promotion regulations calling for a discharge of a person who has an inclination to abnormal sexual habits also should be retained.
Last year, 11 homosexual conscripts were discharged. One conscript killed himself in 2003 after being sexually harassed by a senior, and one out of 10 soldiers said they were sexually harassed in the military, according to data provided by the National Human Rights Commission.
The idea of allowing conscripts to change their units is also a problem. If it is allowed, everyone would want to serve in comfortable areas and nobody would apply for dangerous or remote posts. The ministry should remember that discipline is important for military power.