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Why "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Was Always a Flawed Policy

Updated on December 20, 2010

Policy Repealed; Gays Soon to Serve Openly in Military

The United States Senate has now voted to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Because the House has already passed an identical bill, this means that President Obama can now sign the repeal into law, as he is expected to do.

I personally served in the Army and have seen soldiers "chaptered out" of the military due to this policy. The long-held belief by some is that the presence of gays and lesbians in the military can threaten the ability of troops to fight in combat.

Defenders of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the earlier outright bans on gays in the military have always claimed that to have one straight soldier and one gay solider in a foxhole during combat threatens the fighting ability of the troops.

I have never understood this reasoning, and it seems just like a variation of the typical rationalizations for discrimination that always fall out of favor as society slowly wakes up to the unjustified discrimination. For example, it was once illegal pretty much everywhere for persons of mixed race to get married in the United States. A typical rationalization for this discrimination was that it would subject a couple's children to ridicule in school and other parts of society.

This kind of shameful rhetoric has now been proven wrong for decades, just as the bogus attempt to paint gays as some kind of sexual harassers in combat foxholes. It's absurd to suggest that any gay or straight person is going to be focusing on sexual relations or engaged in romantic fantasies while being shot at in a foxhole. This is the kind of logic that eventually always fails as society realizes the unfairness of the discrimination.

It happened with race, it happened with gender, and it is now starting to happen with sexual orientation. There is not a single reported case of a gay soldier disrupting operations on the battlefield. Yes, it's time to put these phantom fears to rest. Just like discrimination in the form of slavery, bans on interracial marriage and various kinds of gender discrimation are falling by the wayside, this was just a matter of time.


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