Military’s Anti-Gay Policy Nears Death


“Don’t ask, don’t tell” — the odd federal policy that forces military personnel to sneak around and lead secret lives — needs to go and the sooner the better.

It’s no longer just some radical, out-in-left-field notion that openly gay and lesbian service members should be allowed to lead honest lives while serving their country. Today, we have a Pentagon study that found a whopping 70 percent of service members believe scrapping Don’t Ask Don’t Tell would have a positive effect, a mixed effect or no effect at all on the services. That means our military doesn’t fear the change. Neither should the U.S. Senate, which is all that stands in the way of this stupid policy’s repeal.

In addition to tacit approval of a majority in the military, we have a no-holds-barred endorsement of losing “don’t ask, don’t tell” from Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Johnson and Army Gen. Carter Ham — the men who led the Pentagon study to determine whether we need the policy.

In the rare event that allowing gays to serve openly would cause problems, the perpetrators would likely be among a tiny fraction of homophobes who should be discharged. Most men and women in the service are honorable. That means they don’t concern themselves with the sexual orientations of those with whom they work. In the private sector, people of various sexual orientations typically work together in harmony.

In our nation’s past, we’ve been told that blacks and whites couldn’t serve together. It wasn’t true. Not long ago, we were told women and men couldn’t serve together without upheaval. It wasn’t true.

In battle, history has shown us, it’s even easier for people with differences to get along. Back in the days of overt racism, blacks and whites learned that race meant nothing in a foxhole full of Americans who were counting on one another for survival.

“The reality is that there are gay men and lesbians already serving in today’s U.S. military, and most service members recognize this,” Johnson said in a statement to the media. “Further, in the course of our assessment, it became apparent to us that, aside from the moral and religious objections to homosexuality, much of the concern about ‘openly’ gay service members is driven by misperceptions and stereotypes.”

Even those with deep religious objections to same-sex intimate relationships should not feel threatened by an elimination of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” The policy does not condemn gays and lesbians and does not keep them from serving. It merely forces them to keep secrets and live in mortal fear of slipping up in a conversation — a policy that’s hard to defend morally. Repealing the policy in no way advocates or sanctifies same-sex relationships. It merely eliminates mandated secrecy in institutions built around honor and truth. Those who believe gays and lesbians are sinners must acknowledge that most humans, whether civilian or military, commit sin. Furthermore, the military is not a church and cannot function as one.

This should not be a divisive and moralistic right vs. left issue. It should not be decided on a basis of who approves of same-sex relationships, and who does not. It should be decided on a basis of what’s best for our armed forces.

The majority in the military has spoken, and they are OK with repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Some of our top brass want the policy to go. So let’s get this done, right away, and move beyond this counter-productive ignorance.



Author: Colorado Springs Gazette

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