Thursday, June 21, 2007

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Gay Pride
In honor of Pride Week....

Some Dems have gotten together in Congress and introduced legislation to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell. You might call this "election year posturing," and you may be right. There are, however, some good reasons for getting rid of this stupid law.
In the 13 years of the "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy that has banned gays and lesbians from service in the armed forces, more than 11,000 gays have been discharged, including 58 Arabic linguists and other needed specialists, at a cost of more than $300 million.
Retired Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has dropped his opposition to gays serving in the military. Retired Gen. Colin Powell who worked to draft DADT may be softening his stance. (He is a politician these days, so it is hard to be sure what he means.)

The current excuse for not changing DADT is about not making changes during war time. Then tell me why the Navy's end of discrimination during WWII went so well. (Not that there weren't problems, but the Navy still kicked ass and took names after Truman ordered an end to segregation.)

When an ex-Georgia Congressman (conservative) says it should go, it probably will.
“When you get Bob Barr with you on a lesbian/gay issue, you’re come a long, long way,” said Steve Ralls, spokesman for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a Washington-based advocacy group pushing for the legislation. [Ref.]
The public also seems to be coming around. There has been
a substantial change in public attitudes on several gay rights questions over the past decade. According to the Pew Research Center, 52 percent of Americans favored allowing gays to serve openly in the military in 1994, while 45 percent opposed it. By 2006, that majority had grown to 60 percent, while 32 percent opposed the idea. [Ref.]
Even if you think Pew (are they an unbiased organization? No really) is skewing the numbers, they probably aren't making it up out of whole cloth. There has been a shift in public attitudes.

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