Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Don't Ask/ Don't Tell

The military's Don't Ask/Don't Tell policy is discrimination sanctioned by a law -- a law that doesn't make sense.

"Since don't ask, don't tell was introduced, the military has discharged more than 13,000 lesbians, gays and bisexuals, according to the Service members Legal Defense Network. A 2005 government report found that about 800 of them had skills deemed 'critical,' such as engineering and linguistics, and that it cost the military about $200 million to recruit and train their replacements."

According to Wikipedia, "Don't ask, Don't Tell" is the policy regarding gays and lesbians serving openly in the U.S. military. The policy prohibits anyone who "demonstrate(s) a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" from serving in the armed forces of the United States, because "it would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability."

The act prohibits any homosexual or bisexual person from disclosing his or her sexual orientation or from speaking about any homosexual relationships, including marriages or other familial attributes, while serving in the United States armed forces. The "don't ask" part of the policy indicates that superiors should not initiate investigation of a service member's orientation in the absence of disallowed behaviors, though mere suspicion of homosexual behavior can cause an investigation.

Darren Manzella served two years with all his unit knowing he was gay. Did he rape the other men? No. Did he make unwanted advances? No. He was just a homosexual man who served his country and dared to speak about it publicly.

President Obama has vowed to end the Don't Ask/Don't Tell policy during his administration. During his speech to the Human Rights Campaign annual dinner in October 2009, President Obama said,

"We should not be punishing patriotic Americans who have stepped forward to serve the country. We should be celebrating their willingness to step forward and show such courage ... especially when we are fighting two wars. . .

We cannot afford to cut from our ranks people with the critical skills we need to fight any more than we can afford -- for our military's integrity -- to force those willing to do so into careers encumbered and compromised by having to live a lie. So I'm working with the Pentagon, its leadership, and the members of the House and Senate on ending this policy. Legislation has been introduced in the House to make this happen. I will end Don't Ask, Don't Tell. That's my commitment to you."


Please find the full text of his speech here: Human Rights Campaign Dinner, October 10, 2009, Speech of President Barack Obama.

Please sign these petitions to show your support for the repeal of the Don't Ask/Don't Tell policy:

End Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Sponsored by: Gillibrand for Senate

Courage Campaign | Sign the petition to President Obama