A bill was filed in the House of Representatives to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” DADT bans gays serving openly in the military. The law (Pub.L 103-160 (10 U.S.C. § 654) prohibits anyone who “"demonstrate(s) a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" from serving in the armed forces of the United States, because it "would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability." In essence, while it supposedly offers protection, it really prohibits any LGBT person from telling anyone that they are LGBT or from talking about any relationships they have.
In theory, DADT was supposed to protect LGBT service members but in reality, it did not. A superior officer is not supposed to ask about a person’s sexual orientation but the smallest suspicion of “homosexual behavior” is all it takes to open an investigation.
There is more military and governmental support for the repeal than in previous attempts. This new attempt was filed by Ellen Tauscher, a Democrat from California. “This law has failed our country and our military for 15 years,” Tauscher told a news conference. “It harms military readiness and discriminates against patriotic young men and women who want to serve their country. It’s time for Congress to right this wrong.”
Support comes from expected advocates, such as Ted Kennedy, and unlikely ones such as Sam Nunn, the Georgia Democrat who sponsored DADT In January 2009, the American Psychoanalytic Association called for repeal of the law. A long list of retired generals and admirals also support repeal - including two former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, John Shalikashvili and Colin Powell.
According to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Fund website, more than 12,500 women and men have been discharged. Nearly 800 of those discharged were “mission-critical” specialists, including pilots, intelligence analysts, medics and linguists. Their website also says that it has cost more than $300 million dollars to recruit and train replacements for the servicemembers who were discharged.
On March 13 SLDN members will be on Capitol Hill to lobby members of Congress to repeal the ban. If you would like to tell your congressional representatives to support the repeal, go to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Fund site and find your senators and congressional representatives. Let them know that you support repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. There are sample letters you can send, but please know that our elected officials pay more attention to emails and letters that are personal, rather than clearly a form letter. Use SLDF for statistics and other useful information but be sure to write your own message.
Let’s support our brothers and sisters in the military and ask all of our representatives to support the repeal!