The official blog of American Veteran Magazine, the national quarterly publication of AMVETS.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Congress announces hearings on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Yesterday, Military Times reported that the House and Senate Armed Services Committees plan to hold hearings on the controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy once Congress reconvenes in the fall. The announcement came on Monday from Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

Gillibrand and Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) both support legislation that would essentially overturn the policy, which was enacted in 1993 as a compromise allowing for homosexual individuals to serve in the military, provided their personal lives remained private.

Murphy, an Iraq veteran, announced his efforts spearheading the campaign, "Let Them Serve," on July 8. To read the original story from American Veteran Online, Click Here.

Two weeks ago, American Veteran asked for comments on the issue from more than 400 AMVETS Facebook group members. Many of the responses were in support of overturning "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" for a variety of reasons.

Comments on the blog can be viewed on the original posting, but here is a sample of the responses we received via Facebook:

"I know that there is a difference of opinion among soldiers, but for the most part, I think we all value good soldiers, leaders, and those willing to sacrifice. The military confronted racial and gender discrimination in the past, and have made great strides in those areas. I believe don't ask, don't tell is obsolete. We need to judge people on merit and qualifications, regardless of what they do in their private lives behind closed doors." - Glenn (OIF Army veteran)

"In my opinion, the law needs to stay as is. If changed, I believe it will have a negative impact on morale,ability to work as a cohesive team(especially in combat),it is an unhealthy, unnatural lifestyle choice. In a military situation,keep your personal,sexual lifestyle choice to yourself. This would be too socially disruptive." - Shirley (AMVETS supporter)

"When I joined the Army in 1988 the rule was simple, if you are gay you are out. Then Clinton gets into office and say rule changed: We wont ask and you won't tell. Now somewhere along the lines we are doing away with the rule. What is going on with people today? Why can't we get a rule and stick with it? No matter what they come up with, it just won't matter because someone is going to get offended by the ruling. I was offended when the rule was changed to "Don't Ask Don't Tell." We in the military were and are held to a high standard, our morals are expected to be higher than anyone else. And yet we have to be the most acceptable people on the planet, because we worry who is going to get offended. So never mind how the armed forces are going to deal with this, our opinion never matters anyways." - Richard (AMVETS life member)

"I don't care about the sexual orientation of the people I serve with. As long as they can do their job they'll be fine in my book." - Matt (OIF Army veteran)

"Personally, I am not a fan of homosexuals and their lifestyle disgusts me. But, I believe that they should not be exempt from risking their lives and dying for their country the same way straight men and women do. If they are physically and mentally able to complete all training then let them join. If they can't then get them out. The only real down side I can see is that many men and woman will not be comfortable having a gay person living, bathing or eating next to them, so that could be an issue. We don't need any issues that could cause a soldier to lose focus because when you lose focus bad things can happen." - Melissa (AMVETS Facebook group member)

American Veteran will post details on this fall's hearings as soon as they become available. Check back regularly for updates. In the meantime, we're eager to hear what you have to say on this controversial issue.

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