Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Beginning of the End for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"?

Earlier this week it was announced that “the military will no longer aggressively pursue disciplinary action against gay service members whose orientation is revealed against their will by third parties”. This apparently is the first step towards completely repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

A committee will be formed to investigate how best to integrate gay men and women into the military. Issues such as the propriety of allowing gays in the military to exhibit “their sexual orientation on the job” need to be discussed before the policy is repealed. Some claim that proper integration may take several years, based on dealing with issues such as this.

Some gay rights group leaders fear that this process will be dragged out over an extended period of time. They fear the potential of overly long grace periods and an overly lengthy process. Advocates had wanted President Obama to take unilateral action rather than pursue Congressional legislation; however, with the issue being placed before Congress gay rights advocates will need to continue to pressure Democrats to repeal this policy.

Repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” is long overdue. Singling out gays and lesbians and preventing them from serving in the military (unless they hide the fact they are gay) is improper discrimination by the government. For those willing and able to serve their country in the military, their sexual preference should not be an issue; if they are qualified to do the job, they should be given the chance without making them hide who they are.

It will be interesting to see how protracted this process is. To a person who has never served in the military, some of the issues that “need” to be discussed appear to be rather trivial; even if they are not allowed to exhibit “their sexual orientation on the job” it is hard to imagine that many in the military don’t already realize they are serving with gay and lesbian soldiers without complaint. Once again, it appears that this is an outdated policy being enforced by those with outdated ideals; it would appear now is a good time to repeal this policy and let everybody serve as equals.

For the full article from the Washington Post, click here.

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