The Senate's repeal rejection in September and the Pentagon's newly released study has assured that the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy has been a hot button topic in recent weeks. With every day that passes, it's become more and more evident that the repeal of DADT is an idea whose time has come.
When the policy was implemented in 1993, it stood as a compromise between civil rights groups and political organizations that supported the repeal of the Department of Defense's 1981 policy (which stated that homosexuality is incompatible with military), and those that opposed the lifting of the ban. Perhaps DADT was needed in the late 20th century to prevent greater injustices, but it's become painfully obvious that such compromises don't make sense in today's world. Numerous studies and public opinion poles have shown a clear bias in favor of a repeal, and the Pentagon's recent study claims that open service will have little to no effect on combat readiness, unit cohesion, or troop morale. Repealing the policy will prove beneficial in several other concrete, immediately identifiable ways, such as easing some of the military's financial burden; millions of dollars of which go to the enforcement of DADT each year. Additionally, it will prevent vital members of our military from being excluded just because of their sexual orientation, such as the 1,100 skilled linguists and mission-critical service members who have been discharged as of 2003.
Beyond all the dry facts, though, is the knowledge that the repeal of DADT is a matter of justice. No one should be required to hide who they are in order to serve the country that they love, and yet there are approximately 66,000 gays and lesbians in the military today who do just that. This simply must change, since those who have the courage to support and protect the United States deserve nothing less than the same from its citizens.
Sarah Wilson, Anchorage
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