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Repeal of DADT will benefit US

Published: Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 16:07

Last Friday was a watershed moment for all gay Americans serving in our armed forces.

President Barack Obama and military leaders certified that the military is finally prepared to implement the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" law, which set the stage for a 60-day review by Congress. The law will officially be repealed on Sept. 20, according to Obama.

The battle to repeal this law has been a long time coming. This law has unjustly discriminated against a group of individuals simply because of their sexual orientation.

It appears, however, that this repeal has taken place despite the wishes of some conservatives.

According to Mother Jones, Republicans in the House of Representatives pursued a laundry list of measures that were meant to put the brakes on this legislation. Some prominent Republicans, such as Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), even took to the airwaves to voice their reservations with the repeal of this law, according to Mother Jones.

"I really don't think we should be putting people who are in harm's way, in very close quarters, in any kind of uncomfortable position," Hutchison said.

Since when does being gay mean that you can't keep your hands to yourselves? We find it hard to believe that gay soldiers would have any trouble conforming to the standards of conduct expected from a member of our armed forces.

A poll conducted last year finds that most United States troops are just fine with gays serving openly in the military, according to USA Today. Some service members, such as Sgt. John Miller, a 37-year-old serving with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 25th Infantry Division in Afghanistan, have expressed no concern with the repeal of this law, according to Mother Jones.

"As long as everyone does their job, it's cool," Miller said. "There hasn't been a lot of talk about [certification]. People are people, and we all have a lot of work to do."

The damage done due to this law has been very significant. According to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, more than 14,500 service members have been fired under DADT since 1993. Many of these service members may choose not to re-enlist, despite a repeal of the policy.

The Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay conservatives, chose to go against their own party and challenge this discriminatory law.

Repeal of this law may even have a potential secondary effect that has not been considered. According to Mother Jones, Vermont Law School announced on Friday in an email statement that "it will rekindle its relationship with military recruiters, banned from campus since 1985, in the wake of the Pentagon's DADT repeal certification." This decision follows recent decisions by Harvard and Columbia University to restore ROTC programs that had been banned for quite some, as well as on-campus military recruiting.

This development could represent a significant boost for military recruitment. The softening of relations between educational institutions such as this one and our military is a significant victory that could be a benefit for all of us.

Gay people should have every right to serve in our armed forces without having to hide who they are. Gay people will not cause any disturbance or discomfort to other service members, and we must continue to support the repeal of this legislation.

 Ending this policy could potentially increase recruitment and improve the strength and flexibility of our military. The repeal of this law is the right thing to do for our country.

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