It’s not official, but it’s inevitable.
Our President is opposed to it, so are the Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And, by voting 234-194 on the Murphy agreement last week, the House also agrees. Now, all that’s remaining is a majority vote by the Senate to put the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy where it solely belongs—in our memories.
Since its inception, in the early years of the Clinton Administration, the only thing DADT has done for our armed forces is made less troops. According to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a non-profit legal service that provides legal aid to homosexuals who’ve been “outed” in the military, about 13,500 soldiers have been dishonorably discharged since DADT was implemented.
DADT is in effect due to U.S. Code. According to the Code, gays are not permitted to openly serve in the military because “The presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts 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.”
In other words, the government believes that homosexuals within the ranks will crumble the military’s infrastructure. Ironically, DADT allows gays to serve. They just have to masquerade their true identities with guilt and shame.
Yes, DADT is an unfair policy, but it is microscopic compared to the bigger problem it’s protecting: homosexuals not being permitted to serve openly in our armed forces. But is there any proof that the U.S. code is wrong when it comes to homosexuals? The proof is beyond our borders.
Of the 26 countries that form NATO, 22 allow gays to openly serve in the military (including Britain, France and Russia). And what’s more, every member of the European Union, with the exception of Greece, accepts homosexuals in their armed forces. Canada has been welcoming homosexuals into the Canadian Armed Forces since 1992. Have these soldiers diminished “the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion” in these countries? According to the British Ministry of Defense in a 2007 New York Times article, “It has for the most part become a nonissue.”
The Senate must move to repeal DADT and change our policy forbidding homosexuals to fight for our country. Perhaps DADT was set up to preserve the military’s sense of brotherhood and morale, but it has sacrificed a principle which makes all that truly possible: honesty.