John Shields

Stop Playing "Kick the Can" with Don't Ask Don't Tell

Filed By John Shields | April 03, 2009 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics

I'm sick and tired of politicians playing "kick the can" with the lives of gay and lesbian servicemembers, and it better stop soon. First off, the LGBTQ community is not a "can" and I for one am tired of being kicked - down the road or anywhere else.

As a former special operations officer, you bet I have an opinion on this, but I'll let others do the talking for me right now while I go punch a wall or two.

In an interview regarding Don't Ask Don't Tell on Sunday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that he and the president have "a lot on our plates right now. Let's push that one down the road a little bit."

In a statement, the executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), Aubrey Sarvis, says: Secretary Gates doesn't give "a sound reason for kicking 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' down the road -- or essentially back tracking on a campaign promise" made by President Obama.

On a cold and wet Friday in March, hundreds of former and current gay and lesbian servicemembers met at the U.S. Congress to lobby representatives and senators for the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.

Most Americans agree Don't Ask Don't Tell should be repealed, as do many members of Congress - on both sides of the aisle.

As I have argued before, nations from Argentina to Great Britain have found that gays serving openly in the military do not, in any way, compromise unit integrity or the mission.
Numerous studies have concluded that gays and lesbians openly serving do not undermine unit readiness, troop morale or national security.

I argued last year, as I am now, that I don't expect the Obama administration to tackle this particular issue at this particular moment in time. But I DO expect Don't Ask Don't Tell to be repealed THIS year. Enough is enough.

Nearly 13,000 gay and lesbian members have been kicked out of the military since DADT was enacted, including dozens of Arabic translators. Thousands more gay and lesbian servicemembers have died or been injured while serving their country - the same country that doesn't want to even acknowledge their existence.

The time for talk is over. The time for "kicking" issues regarding the LGBTQ community down the road until it is convenient is over.

Enough is enough. It's time to light the torches.

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