|Derek Morado: This is what an idiot looks like.|
Morado became the latest poster child for GetEqual's Robin McGehee, who, together with John Aravosis and Joe Sudbay of AmericaBlog, launched a petition campaign to save his stupid ass. Even though he knew what was at stake when he outed himself, Morado dodged a bullet on Thursday when a three-member panel voted 3-0 not to discharge him.
I received emails last night from both GetEqual and AmericaBlog proclaiming, "We Won!" and "Victory!" along with a pitch for donations on GetEqual's part.
Aravosis and Sudbay launched one of their infamous petition campaigns and sent thousands of names to Morado as a show of support. Interestingly enough, this morning's Stars and Stripes article about the case does not credit the Dynamic Duo of Gayopolis with having swayed the panel's decision in any way.
What Stars and Stripes does say is that the victory was due mainly to an effective defense and a half-hearted prosecution:
During the hearing at Leemore Naval Air Station in California, defense attorney’s called four witnesses to testify to Petty Officer Derek Morado’s good conduct and character, according to the advocacy group GetEQUAL. The prosecution called none.
Attorneys also argued that given the imminent repeal of the 17-year-old policy, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus would be unlikely to approve the discharge. Defense Secretary Robert Gates directed in October that all discharges had to be expressly approved by the secretary of the service and the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. Nobody has been discharged since then.Not to be denied her face time, GetEqual's McGehee acknowledged Morado's self-sacrifice and dumb luck:
“Today was a victory, and we're grateful to Derek for lending his story and his voice to highlight the fact that servicemembers are still facing the discharge process, even 100 days after the law was repealed,” GetEQUAL director Robin McGehee said in a statement.Here's the part where I go off.
Petitions are only effective if they are delivered to someone who can actually do something about the issue. Did John and Joe deliver the petition signatures to the Navy? I'll let them tell you via last night's email:
"Thank you to the thousands who signed our petition on behalf of Derek over the past 24 hours. We sent your names to Derek this morning right before he went into his hearing, so in a very real way you were there with him."That would be a big fat "No".
Online petitions can be effective in some cases, but with the possible exception of Betty White hosting SNL, nobody gives a rat's ass about them.
As for GetEqual, I respect and admire their work. They have done more to call attention to LGBT rights in their first year than HRC has done in the last ten. But they miss the mark in cases like this when their egos get in the way of their work. Granted, fighting anti-LGBT discrimination is what they do, but seriously, folks. When someone like Morado is stupid enough to do something they know will get them fired, they deserve to be fired.
Say what you want about free speech, equality and the right to serve. Morado exercised poor judgement when he posted a pic that he knew would cost him his job. He didn't do it as a protest. He didn't to it to make a statement. He was just too stupid to think about the consequences of his actions. That's not someone I want defending my country.
So congrats to Joe, John and Robin for a well executed, if not transparent, PR campaign and to Derek Morado for being one lucky bastard.