Compromise Leads to Repeal

Wendy Peters

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Some lawmakers have no problem lying, since this is the manner in which they conduct their personal and professional lives. So, not surprisingly, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) falls well within the policy in Washington.

My hat goes off to President Barack Obama who called for an end to the DADT policy in his first State of the Union speech and the support of Defense Secretary Robert Gates to the President’s calls, further signals that this policy should be repealed post haste.

Hopefully, President Obama has learned from the compromises of the past and will use this insight in his fight for Healthcare reform. One seemingly innocent compromise by President Clinton in 1993 has taken us down a road similar to those once traveled. As in the past, there comes a time to right a wrong.

The DADT policy went into effect in 1993, as a compromise between President Clinton and Congress, to move forward on the ban against gays serving openly in the military. The intention of the policy was to offer judgment on service members based on their conduct, rather than sexual orientation. Enlistment and all written forms were to be void of any inquiries regarding sexual orientation in an effort to implement the policy. Now, there is an attempt to repeal the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, as it forces individuals to lie about their sexual orientation or face discharge from the military.

This harkens back to the time where women paid taxes but could not vote. Early attitudes toward women painted us as intellectually inferior to men and also a major source of temptation and evil. This view of women has changed and we can now not only vote, but successfully run for political office and effectively hold jobs commonly held by our male counterparts.

In the policy concerning homosexuals in the military, Congress finds, among other things, that, “The primary purpose of the armed forces is to prepare and to prevail in combat should the need arise.” Are they suggesting that homosexuals cannot “prepare for” or “prevail in combat should the need arise?” The policy also states that, “The conduct of military operation requires members of the armed forces to make extraordinary sacrifices, including the ultimate sacrifice, in order to provide for the common defense.”

Well, “extraordinary sacrifices” are made by people every day and, guess what, homosexuals are among these people. Furthermore, joining the military, which may lead to combat, is not taken lightly by those who choose to enlist. These enlistees have families and responsibilities they chose to leave for the defense of their country.

The policy also states that, “Success in combat requires military units that are characterized by high morale, good order and discipline, and with cohesion.” There appears to be “good order and discipline” in the Secret Service, the National Security Agency, CIA, FBI and NASA who allow openly lesbian and gay individuals to serve in their organizations and most local law enforcement agencies have done away with prohibitions, while maintaining cohesiveness, with no reports of negative effects.

Let’s get real for a moment. The real concern is sex, which is not disguised in the stated policy, calling it, “homosexual acts.” The policy goes on to state that “persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in ‘homosexual acts’ would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale … the essence of military capability.”

Forgive me, but I have to point out that the “propensity or intent” to engage in sex in the military exists for homosexual as well as heterosexuals. What are we going to do about the propensity or intent for sex of heterosexuals serving in the military? Do their actions pose an “unacceptable” risk to the high standards of morale?

There will, undoubtedly, be some within the military who will be obstructive to the repeal of the DADT policy for one reason or another and therein lies the problem. The military should refocus their efforts and concerns on precisely those individuals rather than discharging homosexuals from the military, especially court-martial those who stand in the way of the new policy. The Constitutional Statute authorizing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, section 654(2) states, “There is no constitutional right to serve in the armed forces.” Well maybe there should be such a “right.”

We are not living in the 19th century. Gay, lesbian and bi-sexual Americans also pay taxes and are NOT inferior to heterosexuals. We are all human beings and we all bleed red. No one or nothing should stand in the way of a decent American’s pursuits.