Tag Archives: Gay policy

“Don’t Ask, Don”Tell, Don’t Keep This Stupid Policy”

President Obama has made it clear to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and joint chairman Mike Mullern, there has to be an end to the “don’t ask, don’t tell,” policy that was initiated when Bill Clinton was president. White House spokesperson, Robert Gibbs told reporters, that Obama wants to repeal the policy “in a way that is least disruptive to our troops, especially given that they have been simultaneously waging two wars for six years now.” Within the past week, the Pentagon went from saying there were no plans to repeal the policy to admitting there is study on how to accomplish the task.

President Obama is correct that any change should not be disruptive, but common sense suggests American troops would welcome any assistance even from those who are gay or lesbian. Why not use men and women who are committed to serving their nation while millions of “straight people” shy away from such service?

Supreme Court May Ask And Then Tell About Gays

There is growing possibility the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy pertaining to the rights of gays to remain in the service may be headed to the Supreme Court. During the past few months courts have, essentially, ruled both ways on the issue. On June 10th, the 1st Circuit Court in Boston basically ruled the current policy was legal. Judge Jeffrey Howard speaking for the majority said: “Although the wisdom behind the statute at issue here may be questioned by some, in light of the special deference we grant congressional decision-=making in this area, we conclude that the challenges must be dismissed.” However, in late may, teh 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco, reinstated a lawsuit filed by a former Air Force m ajor after she was told she would be discharged for homosexual activity. This decision essentially denied the military power to discharge people based on their sexual orientation.

Although the 1st Circuit Court sided with the military, it urged the policy should receive “tougher judicial scrutiny” because the policy discriminates against a particular group. Given the conflicting decisions, either gays can take their desire for equity to the Supreme Court or the military can ask the court to support its right to decide military policy.

Ironically, there is growing concern within the military concerning the wisdom of the policy including a recent report by retired officers who said changes were needed to allow gays to serve. Retired General John Shalikashvili, former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff came out for repeal of the gay policy. It is time to either abandon the policy or get the Supreme Court to render its verdict on it.

Gay Soldiers Speak Publicly Without Punishment

Army Sgt. Darren Manzella thought he would be discharged from the armed forces for stating on the 60 Minute TV program that he was gay since his statement defied the Pentagon, “don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy. He told the TV audience his fellow soldiers knew all about his gay life style and he even showed a home video of him kissing a man. “I thought I would at least be asked about the segment or approached and told I shouldn’t speak to the media again.” Instead, there was silence from Army authorities. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a gay advocacy group, estimates there are 500 gay soldiers who have openly stated their sexual orientation without being punished. Manzella says he was invited to join the 600 members of an invitation-only MySpace group, “Guys And Gals Like Us” which is for gays. It is estimated about 12,000 members of the military have been discharged since the policy was first announced in 1993.

It is apparent, at a time when soldiers are needed to fight in wars being waged in the Middle East, the armed forces has decided that silence is golden. The policy from day one was ridiculous and only deprived the military of valuable personnel. Let’s hope that no one will be discharged for being who she or he is.