Secretary of Defense Gates speaks up at the Senate hearing on the elimination of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” in the U.S. Military.
It’s about time that some action gets taken on “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”. The waste of talent, money and time in discharging over 13,000 gay and lesbian members of the U.S. Military since the policy was instituted has been immense. The support for gays and lesbians openly serving in the military has grown both within the military and in the general public, as more and more Americans become acquainted with openly gay neighbors, children, parents and co-workers in a broad range and walks of life. Meanwhile gays and lesbians are allowed to serve openly in the military forces of Argentina, Austria, Brasil, Canada, France, Germany, Australia, the UK etc. (see Wikipedia for the full list) without any significant implementation or integration problems. In fact, U.S. service men and women, have served with openly gay and lesbian service people during NATO and joint military operations without any adverse impact on unit cohesion.
If you are interested in following this topic more closely please visit the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the organization established to help support Gays and Lesbians in the military.
Here’s what Representative Tammy Baldwin, D – 02 had to say about the DADT Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing:
Statement of Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus
On Today’s Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing
On the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy
February 2, 2010“President Obama has done the right thing in calling for an end to the un-American and discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy. I thank Chairman Levin for holding today’s hearing and was pleased to hear Secretary of Defense Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen, clearly state their support for ending the policy that prevents gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military.
Since 1997, our armed forces have forced out nearly 11,000 dedicated, skilled, patriotic service members solely on the basis of their sexual orientation. At a time when we need them most, we have lost trained Arabic linguists and other specialists, putting all of our troops and our national security at greater risk. It is high time the U.S. catch up with many of our allies, including some fighting with us in Afghanistan, by ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ These allies have welcomed openly gay and lesbian service members into their ranks with no loss of morale, unit cohesion, or other adverse effect. Certainly we can do the same.
I hope today’s hearing marks the first step toward expeditiously ending the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy. I look forward to the results of the Department of Defense (DOD) 45-day review of policy to assess what can be done immediately. However, I believe an implementation study can occur in a much shorter time frame than the eleven months that is currently being proposed.
Secretary Gates testified, ‘We can only take this process so far, as the ultimate decision rests with you, the Congress.’ Secretary Gates is correct and I will continue my strong efforts to pass the Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R. 1283) to eliminate discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in our military.
It’s time for Congress to act. Every day this policy remains in place, it does further damage to individuals, to our armed forces, and to our national security.”
And in another example of bigotry and lack of integrity, Family Research Council Senior Fellow for Policy Peter Sprigg calls for criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior, not only in the military but in all walks of life.