Military must accept gays

The day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, 'Senator, we ought to change the policy,' then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it …"

It is a quote that you would believe, based on the state of the current debate on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," to stem from the liberal majority or maybe from President Barack Obama himself.

The quote, however, is actually that of fervent anti-gays-in-the-military activist Sen. John McCain. Of course, McCain was young and na've then, way back in 2006.

If I were to go into all the hypocrisy of the Grand Old Party's position on the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, it would take me this entire article. Suffice it to say that despite the fact that numerous military experts and leaders have endorsed repealing the policy (including Michael Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. David Petraeus), conservative leaders like McCain have backtracked in an effort to continue their policy of "anything Obama supports is wrong."

Some estimates put the global gay population at 10 percent. That is over 670 million people, and in the United States alone, the number is over 30 million. Even if we take out the moral component of the argument, that is over 30 million people who we are ostracizing who could be defending our country. Not only that, the gays who do serve in the military already, despite the unfair rules against them, are forced to lie about who they are so that they can put their life on the line for their country and fellow citizens.

Opposing the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell is also morally appalling and backward. One of the most prominent arguments against repeal is that straight men will be uncomfortable being viewed as sex objects, and therefore will not fight as well. By that logic, no women should be allowed in the military as they are viewed as sex objects all the time by the straight men in the military.

Not only that, but the idea that a unit of men cannot coalesce if one of them is openly gay is preposterous. People in units in the United States Military come from all different political ideologies, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. If people with all these differences can fight together and form the close connection that comes with the military unit, why should it be so different with sexual orientation?

The other argument against repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell (notably by Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia) is that gay men and women are inherently worse at military combat than straight men and women. This is also false. Of the 26 countries that participate in the NATO alliance, 20 of them allow gays to serve openly. This includes countries with substantial military forces such as the United Kingdom, France, Israel and Russia.

Forcing men and women who are willing to die to protect us to hide who they are is not only counterintuitive, but morally deplorable. It harkens back to another time in American history when we imposed special laws on groups of people, specifically African-Americans, simply because of superficial stigmas. Repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell gives our brave men and women the basic human rights to which they are entitled.

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