Editorial: It’s time for military policy’s end
Last week, members of the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate successfully began the process of repealing the 1993 law that allows gay men and women to serve in the military as long as they hide their sexual orientation.
The House approved the measure, as did the Senate Armed Services Committee, a compromise that addresses the concerns and recommendations of the Pentagon for its implementation.
The full Senate is expected to vote on the measure this month.
We understand there is opposition in the Senate. Opponents express concerns that by eliminating the ban, our national security could be weakened or our military’s effectiveness adversely affected. However, we urge those senators to strongly consider the support of Pentagon officials who believe the time has come to end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
We might feel differently if military leaders were opposed to the idea — but they aren’t.
Gay people are serving in the military — and serving with honor and distinction. We should honor that service and commitment. As a nation, it makes little sense to continue putting up roadblocks that prevent an American citizen from serving his country.
As U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, I-Conn., who introduced the bill eliminating the ban, which was co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., said, “don’t ask, don’t tell” is a discriminatory policy “that dishonors patriotic Americans willing to defend our country.”
We have adopted many laws aimed at banning discriminatory practices to provide a level playing field and opportunity to all American citizens. The vast majority of Americans agree with those efforts to protect all Americans from discrimination.
It’s time we expanded those protections to include our armed forces and those who wish to serve.
We agree with Lieberman that eliminating the ban will in fact make our country stronger and better.
Norwich Bulletin (Norwich, Conn.)