Since 1993 more than 14,500 service members were fired under the law of ”Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (sldn. org). In 1950, President Harry S. signed the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which set up the discharge rules for homosexual service members. People wanting to serve their country were being discriminated and discharged because of their sexuality. Then in 1982, Ronald Reagan proposed a defense directive that states “Homosexuality is incompatible with military service” and people who engaged in homosexual acts or stated that they were homosexual or bisexual were discharged.
In 1992, Bill Clinton, as a presidential candidate, promised to lift the ban. Finally in 1993, when Bill Clinton was elected president, he proposed a compromise that he named “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. This law issued a defense directive that military applicants should not be able to be asked about their sexual orientation (Washington Post). Homosexuals being discriminated in the military have grabbed the attention of people all around the world. The question on whether or not homosexuals should have the right to serve in the military was a hotly debated topic in politics for the past few years.
Even after the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, will our society be ready to accept others? The research started with searching “Homosexuals in the military”. Then “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and personal stories of gays in the military was found. Unfortunately, no books could be found on this topic, but articles from top newspapers became a valid choice. Documentaries and podcasts were also looked at. Good sources were easy to find because the topic was so controversial in the US, so the news articles came in handy.
The repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was all over US news websites, and news clips from YouTube were found. Last fall, a pentagon study was released that said a majority of the US forces, more than 70%, said that serving with homosexuals would have no negative effect on them. Forces fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan had a different response. 58% of combat marines said that they would prefer not to serve with homosexuals. Since the repeal in late September, the effect has been positive on quite a lot of people.
The main people who are opposed to the repeal are the military chaplains. The majority of the 3,000 active chaplains are conservative Christians. A retired chaplain, named Brigadier General Douglas Lee, is one of the 66 retired chaplains that wrote a letter to President Obama, urging him to not go through with the repeal. In a video showing the effects (positive and negative) of the repeal, shows Brigadier General Douglas Lee talking about “Don’t ask, Don’t Tell”. He says, “Homosexuality is one of a multitude of sins.
Chaplains help people wrestle with the sins that bisect them and their lives. The problem with this repeal is that this particular sin is being legitimized as being normal and okay”. The problem with the non acceptance of the chaplains is that many and most conservative Christians believe that homosexuality, like all of the other sins in the bible, is a lifestyle choice (Pbs. org). According to another Pentagon Study, thirty-five other countries allow homosexuals to serve openly with no negative effect (Sldn. org).
Consider two men, both wanting to serve their country, one is gay and one is straight. They get all of the same test scores, and pass, yet only the straight guy is let in, not because of anything else other than his sexuality. If the same circumstances had happened, instead with a man and a woman, it would be sexist. If one was white and the other was black, it would be racist. All of the victims of these situations would have protection under the law and could sue, except for the homosexual.
The homosexual has no legal protection from the government (Library in a book: Gay Rights). The repeal could be the first step to changing this. September 20th 2011, Obama stated, “As of today, our armed forces will no longer lose the extraordinary skills and combat experience of so many gay and lesbian service members. And today, as Commander in Chief, I want those who were discharged under this law to know that your country deeply values your service”(UStoday. com).
Military bases around the US have been holding sessions for service members to educate them on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. They say, “You are not expected to change your religious or moral beliefs, however you are obligated to treat all others with dignity and respect” (Pbs. org). It seems as though that our society has been coping positively since the repeal. There are always going to be some people who will not stray from their views, but the percentages are going up and more and more people are willing to except homosexuals serving freely in the US.
Courtney from Study Moose
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