Long Overdue - Repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama took a pivotal step towards repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Approximately 16 years later, this repeal is far overdue.

It was in the middle of the speech, in one clear sentence, that America was reminded of a federal law enacted in 1993 that rips at the fabric of our nation’s core belief in liberty and equality.  President Barack Obama set a timetable to end the controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy passed during former President Bill Clinton’s tenure.  “This year -- this year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It's the right thing to do.”

Our troops have been in active war since 2001 – defending the United States and promoting the values of our nation.  It’s simply hypocritical to send American troops to fight and often lose their lives in the name of freedom and equality, yet threaten their military status by asking them to conceal a part of their identity. Repealing this federal law would be a big step towards improving the civil rights of our nation and recognizing that being gay does not determine one’s courage, passion or work ethic.

On the surface, arguments for the policy state that disclosing one’s sexual orientation would be a risk to morale and unit cohesion. However, not only does social science research and internal military polling directly undermine this argument, but the experiences of many of our allies, including most NATO members, Israel, Argentina, Great Britain and Australia, to name a few, all act as case studies and proof that this policy is in fact counterproductive.   But more importantly, this policy is a direct violation of our country’s values of freedom, equality and opportunity.

On Tuesday Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen testified in front of Congress about the policy. They presented to Congress the transition process that will take place between now and 2011 when the repeal can fully come into effect. Individuals are scattered throughout the world protecting our nation; it’s about time we treat them with the fairness and equality that we advocate – and they truly deserve.

Read more at The Opportunity Agenda website.

Tags: Opportunity, military, gay, lesbian, equality, obama, sotu (all tags)

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