November 23, 2010

Fox News Rejects Ad About Gay Troops

Australian General Calls Lifting the Gay Ban a “Non-Event”

Santa Barbara, Calif. – Today, the Palm Center issued a statement following the rejection by Fox News of a 30-second advertisement in which Generals from allied militaries say that gay troops do not undermine combat effectiveness.  The ad can be viewed here.

Palm Center Director Aaron Belkin stated: “I am surprised that Fox News would reject an ad featuring allied Generals, given that both host Bill O’Reilly and guest contributor Liz Cheney have expressed support for open gay service.  This is an important time for input from all sides on this issue, and I hope Fox will reconsider.”

The ad includes video clips made in May 2010 featuring Major General Walter Semianiw, Chief of Military Personnel in the Canadian Forces, and Major General Simon Willis (retired), former Head of Defence Personnel in the Australian Defence Force.  Major General Semianiw has since been promoted to Lieutenant General and leads Canada Command.

In the ad, both Generals discuss the military impact of allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly, stating the following:

Major General Semianiw: “There is no negative impact of having men and women of any sexual orientation fighting together, be it in Afghanistan, be it in Iraq.”

Major General Simon VL Willis (ret): “The lifting of the homosexual ban was a bit like Y2K. It was a non-event, and it continues to be a non-event.”

According to Central Command’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) fact sheet generated by NATO, there are more than 1,400 Australian troops and 2,800 Canadian forces fighting alongside U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

“We have reached out to other cable news outlets and still fully intend to air this ad,” stated Christopher Neff, Deputy Executive Director of the Palm Center.