July 15, 2009

Tell Congress: Repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell"

I've never served in the military. I'm also not gay. As such, the Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy, enacted by Congress in 1993 calling for the discharge of openly gay, lesbian or bisexual service members, never really impacted me one way or the other. I suppose that my greatest disappointment is that the entire policy debate ruined the first 100 days of President Clinton's first administration.

It turns out that over 1,300 people have lost their military job since 1994.

Our nation is a different place in 2009 than it was in 1994. The DADT policy seems out-dated. The president says he wants it changed. 75 percent of Americans favor allowing gays to serve openly in the military - up from just 44 percent in 1993.

We are in two wars right now. We need all the trained military people we can get. Most allied forces working alongside U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq allow individuals to serve openly regardless of sexual orientation. Studies of the militaries of Australia, Israel, Great Britain and Canada have shown open service to have no effect on enrollment or retention.

The total number of countries allowing openly gay service is 26. The US and Turkey are the only two original NATO countries that still have bans in place. It just feels that we are on the wrong end of history with our DADT policy.

The folks over at Pam's House Blend have been urging repeal of the DADT policy for many years now. I respect Pam and her opinion on this matter very much.

The folks in congress are now joining the effort. The Military Readiness Enhancement Act (MREA), which repeals current law and replaces it with a policy of non-discrimination in our armed forces, has 161 cosponsors with Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) as lead sponsor.

Villagers, I encourage you to ask your Representative to support MREA today. You don't have to be in the military or gay to realize that it is time to repeal the DADT policy. Send the letter to your congressional representative.
What are your thoughts on DADT policy?


teamowens313 said...

Hey Villager.

I'm really glad you posted on this, and I couldn't possibly agree with you more. Obama's my man, I support him wholeheartedly, and I know he's loaded up with pressing issues. But he needs to get this done and fulfill his promise to the gay community. They're pissed off as hell at him, and I really can't blame them.

No one should ever be forced to lie about who they are. ESPECIALLY not if they are serving their country VOLUNTARILY in the military. This has got to be overturned, and soon.

Symphony said...

This is an embarrassment for a country that has racists in its ranks. They are far more disruptive to good order than homosexuals.

President Obama is failing on this issue. Some of the most integral skills (such as linguists and intelligence analysts) are being kicked out.

As taxpayers you paid a lot of money for these people to go through their basic training, additional job skills training, and for some the added expenses of a background check in order to receive their security clearance.

You don't have to be gay or a service member to be affected by this. You're a taxpayer (and an American who expects your nation to protect you) so its your issue too.

Thanks for the post Villager.

PPR_Scribe said...

DADO is an embarrassment. As is its creator's now half-hearted "support" for LGBT marriage equity. President Obama needs to demonstrate real leadership on this issue. I definitely think starting here, with the military, is a more effective strategy than starting with marriage. Hopefully having Congress take the lead will create a more politically expedient atmosphere for the President.

Thanks so much for highlighting this bill.

Gunfighter said...

I posted about this very subject at my blog today!


MacDaddy said...

I've written about the DADT Clinton policy over at my place: how countries like Canada and Israel and others don't seem to have a problem with people serving in the armed forces who are openly gay-- how this archaic policy needs to relegated to the trashcan of history.

President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi needs to get congress fully behind MREA and get rid of DADT forever.

Villager said...

Keith - I encourage you to share your outrage with your blog readers. It took me too long to do so...

Symphony - For whatever reason the rationale of the DADT policy impacting me because I'm a taxpayer just never resonated. I'm late to posting on the issue, but I'm glad that I finally said some words on it.

PPR Scribe & MacDaddy - I think Obama is very focused on his top 3 policy initiatives -- economy, education & health care. He figured that effort to repeal DADT would distract attention from the top 3 issues. Not every issue can be #1 on the list ... and as you say, it will take congressional effort as well.

Gunfighter - I'm heading over to see your post right now...