The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

STAFF EDITORIAL: Eliminate “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”

We agree with Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that abolishing the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is “the right thing to do.”

It’s an embarrassment to our country to continue to uphold this archaic Department of Defense Directive prohibiting gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

Secretary of State Robert Gates and Mullen picked up on Obama’s promise in his State of the Union Address and urged Congress to repeal the policy.

The lawmakers have already met opposition. Critics claim openly gay service members will disorganize and cripple the military.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) opposes it, as well as House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), who said it’s not the right time to repeal the law in the midst of two wars.

But now is exactly the right time. We need more soldiers. We need their skills.

Since the Directive’s 1993 inception, the Legal Defense Network estimates that about 13,000 service members have been turned away — 644 since Obama took office.

As our country sends more troops to Afghanistan, and with a demand for members with special skills — like fluency in Arabic — it’s not in our country’s interest to turn away 644 willing participants on the basis of their sexual orientation.

Great Britain, Canada and Australia allow their homosexual military members to serve openly. Their militaries haven’t fractured or become ineffective.

Thankfully, U.S. lawmakers hoping to repeal the policy are receiving some support.

Polls indicate most Americans are supportive of ending the law, according to a New York Times article.

Even retired Gen. Colin Powell, who helped instigate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” has reversed his position.

In the early 90s, Clinton tried to end the ban on homosexual members serving in the military.

Powell, then-Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, thought it would debunk order and unity, so he compromised with the “Don’t Ask” proposal. Powell now claims he’s supportive of ending the law.

It’s unbelievable that one of the most open countries in the world — touting freedom of speech, press, protests, religion — one that has tackled civil rights, elected a black president and taken steps toward legalizing gay marriage still will not allow openly gay and lesbian members to serve in the military.

“No matter how I look at this issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend fellow soldiers,” Mullen said.

We’re troubled too.

Homosexual members of the military are willing to die for a country that’s willing to dispel them for their identity.

This outdated policy must be abolished, and we encourage Obama’s and lawmakers’ efforts to end it.

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    DesireeFeb 10, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I applaud the members of the tribune for this editorial. Nice to see!