“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy ends-for now

Alan Duff

As of Oct. 19, 2010, gays and lesbians can now openly serve in the United States Armed Forces. For the first time in the history of the United States, a person’s sexual orientation will no longer dictate whether or not they are allowed to serve. Whether this policy lasts is the real question.
The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue” policy enacted in 1993 as a compromise between the Senate Armed Services Committee and President Clinton has at last been overturned. When in place, the Military Personnel Eligibility Act of 1993 made it impossible for gays or lesbians to admit their sexual orientation without being discharged from the United States military.
While military personal were allowed to withhold their sexual preferences, they were still denied the pride of serving their country that refused to acknowledge their orientation.
Though the law was effective at the time, allowing President Clinton to keep his campaign promise for LGBT citizens to serve in the military, Clinton never was fully able to get across the ideal bill. This was due in part to reports from the Senate Armed Services Committee and certain elements of the public and senate. So a compromise was reached that granted partial liberties.
The United States is a land of acceptance with a constitution that guarantees our civil liberties. Any person should be allowed to serve and protect the United States from harm and as long as they are physically able. They should not be denied that sacred right.
Ultimately the Military Personnel Eligibility Act of 1993 didn’t change people’s sexual preferences, but neither did it mean that gays, lesbians or people of other sexualities should be discriminated against when serving their country. It allowed discrimination against a group because of unfounded biases.
The situation resembles the same plight that other minorities were exposed to until President Harry Truman desegregated the military in July 1948. Sexual preference should not come into consideration when an individual is willing to serve, fight and die for their country.
In 2007 at Columbia University, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad infamously stated, “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country…” This strikes an eerie resemblance to the Military Personnel Eligibility Act of 1993, which on paper seems to state, “In the military, we don’t have homosexuals.” We should strive to resemble freedom, not oppression.
Why this military policy has been an issue for so long is of course understandable, but this is a welcome change that will allow a person of any sexual orientation to show that they, too, are proud to serve in the armed forces and fight to protect the very liberties that should say it is okay to be gay.
Virginia Phillips, a California district court judge, held a similar mindset when she ruled that the 1993 policy violated citizens’ right of freedom of speech and the right to petition. Though it is the right ruling, an appeal from the Obama Administration is most likely to follow, as it cannot be allowed for a single circuit court judge to reverse the entire country’s policy. An appeal will most likely send Phillip’s ruling all the way to Supreme Court for consideration and the question of gays and lesbians being allowed to openly serve will finally be answered in the eyes of the whole nation.
But at least for a short time, another civil liberty is enacted in the United States, a land where freedom from discrimination exists. Thanks to the efforts of Judge Virginia Phillips, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue” policy has been overturned. The Pentagon has stated that for the time being military recruiters are not to deny applicants based on sexual orientation.