'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Policy

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The nation's top two Defense officials called on Congress on Tuesday to end the 16-year- old “don't ask, don't tell” policy, that bans openly gay men and women from serving in the United States military.



While active duty service members are prohibited from talking about the issue, as Newschannel 7's Alexandra Hill tells us, plenty of local former military members have an opinion.



"I was in the military. I got out when I was a first lieutenant. I was military police in the Army National Guard and I knew when I signed that contract that I was breaking a cardinal rule," said Michael Greene, a military veteran and current President of Emerald Coast Pride.



Michael Greene is gay. He grew up in a military family, went to school in Wewa, joined the ROTC, and despite all military stigmas with his sexuality, chose to serve for seven years in our armed services in hiding.



"For me, and I think most of the service members, when that uniform goes on you've got a duty. You've got a job to do. Not once did I join the military to recruit for the LGBT community,” said Greene.



Under the military's current “don't ask, don't tell” policy, Greene would not have been allowed to serve. Homosexual conduct is grounds for a discharge.



Since the policy was implemented in 1993, an estimated 13,000 servicemen and servicewomen have been kicked out.



During his state of the union address last week, President Obama called on Congress to end “don't ask, don't tell.”



On Tuesday, the nation's top two defense officials supported that decision .



"We have in place, a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens,” said Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff.



But not everyone in Washington agrees with abandoning the policy.



"Don't ask, don't tell has been an imperfect but effective policy. And at this moment, when we are asking more of our military than at any time in recent memory, we should not repeal this law,” said Senator John McCain, R- Arizona.



Washington is not the only place where people are debating gays in the military.



Robert Thompson is retired military and the one of the leaders of the Bay Patriots conservative group. He never wanted the “don't ask, don't tell” policy in the first place, saying strict military regulations can take care of any inappropriate behavior, straight or gay.



"Write strict laws. Write strict military regulations. Allow them in, but make them tow the line the same way they would any other law abiding citizen,” said Thompson.



Thompson’s wife, Reeda, is a little more opinionated about the policy.



"I mean who cares! I don't care who somebody makes love to and I mean most people don't. I just feel like people are born that way and I think they should leave people alone,” said Reeda.



"This way our service members can be in there with everyone else. Not have to protect, or hide, or conceal who they are and be able to worry about getting the job done they've signed up to do,” added Greene.



The Pentagon plans to study the issue for a year, before recommending any type of change. Until then, Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he intends to announce some changes to the “don't ask, don't tell” policy in the next 45 days.

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Rosie - posted on 03/21/2010

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definitely get rid of don't ask don't tell! why do they think that knowing someone is gay, is going to automatically make that person hit on them, or whatever they think is going to happen when gays are out in the military. stupid policy, glad to be finally getting rid of it.

Julia - posted on 03/21/2010

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Funny you posted this.... I am former AD Army, husband is currently still AD and I posted this exact thing on another forum for Military Wives. Here is my take on things....



I'm on the fence. For anyone who has read my post on Gay Adoption knows that I am ALL for Equality. I don't feel like any Soldier should have to hide who they are for any reason. HOWEVER having been in and meeting ALL different types of people. There are still just too many "holy rollers" or people who just despise gays and would target or ostrasize them based solely on the fact that they are gay.



Having said this as someone else posted on the other forum....a period of transistion will inevitably happen, as such when they allowed women in the military or when they desegregated the military. However people will eventually get over it.



As for the people who will say it will make other Soldiers (Sailors, Marines, Airmen...from now on when I say Soldiers please know it is inclusive of all branches I just say Soldier because of my Army background) uncomfortable or so on and so forth...I have known PLENTY of homosexual Soldiers and even when I did feel like I was being "checked out" I didn't feel weird. Sort of a self esteem boost...knowing someone thinks you look good...regardless of their sex. Plus you have to think really highly of yourself to even remotely think that just because someone is gay and HAS to watch you piss (I do mean this literally as the Army is supposed to have 10% of the unit pee in a cup while having someone who has to see the pee actually go into the cup monthly and 100% ones every so often) means that they are looking at your stuff. Truely...homosexuals are some of the more respectful people that I have met in that aspect...meaning they respect the fact that you are not and don't push the issue further!!

Johnny - posted on 03/21/2010

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I can only go from what I know about our military in Canada. Gay people have been allowed to serve openly in our military since 1992 and it has not caused any serious or significant problems with troop moral or the success of our fighting forces. Since 1993 our military has experienced a significant upswing in support from our citizens and has become more active and involved in many of the world's hot-spots. And quite successfully for such a small force.



So I would say that the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" will be beneficial to the functioning of the US military.

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