Court order finally bans Don’t Ask Don’t Tell…for now

By Kelly Sineni

Recently Congress introduced a bill that would repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), which was shot down Monday, Sept. 21 by the Senate after being passed by the House in May. Then on Oct. 12, Federal District Judge Virginia Philips from California issued an injunction (court order) banning the US Military from enforcing DADT, meaning homosexuals can openly serve in the military for the time being.
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) is a bill signed by President Clinton in the 90s, that enabled gays to enlist in the military. Previous to that, gay men and women weren’t allowed to serve, due to the sexual orientation question when they enlisted. Basically after DADT the military was no longer allowed to inquire about the sexuality of their enlistees, and enlistees were not supposed to be open about their sexual preferences. Hence the name Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
At the time it was a step in the gay community,
because it allowed gays to secretly serve in the military. Now it is considered by many to be an outdated, discriminative policy, and I have to say I agree. Times change, and over the past 17 years since DADT was passed, America is much different from when the Clinton administration was running the country.
I think that anyone who wants to serve in the armed forces should be allowed to do so without having to hide who they are. Kudos to Judge Philips for making that ruling. It takes a lot of guts for someone to make a call like that after a bill repealing DADT was just shot down. Philips’ ruling may be repealed by a case in the Circuit Court of Appeals, or by the Obama Administration by Dec. 1. While his administration has been an advocate of gay rights, it is not standing up as strongly as one might expect in this case.(This is, after all, an election year. Politics as usual).
America was built on the ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Americans have the right to live the life we want, within legal reason. And I personally think that nobody should be punished for something they did not choose to be nor for something that really has no negative effect on society.
The world is full of gay people… so what? Homosexuals are Americans too, and deserve the same rights as straight Americans. They contribute
as much to society as anyone else. They vote, and they pay taxes. Should they decide to serve our country, what reason does the government have to stop them from being open about their sexuality? In the midst of war, when soldiers are being shot at and bombs are going off all around them, I’m pretty sure they won’t be worrying about whether the guy next to them is gay.
John McCain, who played a ringleader roll in stopping DADT from being repealed, used the excuse that we have to account for what the troops want. I’m all for supporting what the troops want. We should respect and honor them, but let’s be honest here. They are probably already
serving with more gays than they know.
Maybe in the end nothing will physically change if DADT is repealed. No more or less gays might serve, but I think it would be a smart direction for the country to move. The rights and respect of our citizens (ALL of our citizens) should always be a priority of the government, election year or not.