The Time to End ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ Has Arrived

Last Sunday, December 16, 60 Minutes aired a segment with
Army Sergeant Darren Manzella who talked about his experiences as a
gay service member who is out to his superiors. The segment
includes interviews with several people who were formerly members
of the military but did not reenlist due to the military’s
discrimination of gays and lesbians.

The report sheds light on the fact that many military commanders
are looking the other way when a service person’s sexual
orientation is called into question and how the backward “Don’t
Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is affecting the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan. Click
to watch.

Retired Brigadier General Keith Kerr posed a question via YouTube
at a recent GOP debate about the military’s “Don’t Ask,
Don’t Tell” policy. As someone who served in the military for
43 years who came out after he retired, General Kerr asked the
uniformly anti-gay Republican panel why they think that “American
men and women in uniform are not professional enough to serve with
gays and lesbians”. To view the entire exchange, click here.

The question connotes that it’s the military, not any of its
LGBTQ members, that is unprofessional in its intolerance. The
recent press around “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” made me look into some
of the facts about DADT and the effects it has had on today’s
military, which is struggling to recruit members.

§ Since the passage of
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 1993, over 10,000 service members have
been discharged for being gay. That’s approximately 2 people per

§ At least 800 of those
discharged were deemed specialists in their fields, including
Arabic linguists whose service would be valued now more than

§ The cost to hire and
train replacements for these discharges has exceeded $200

It is time that this outdated, discriminatory policy is repealed.
To learn more about the fight to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,”
visit the Servicemembers Legal
Defense Network