Outdated policy unfairly punishes gays in military

By Kelsey Kastrava
September 29, 2010

“Don’t ask, don’t tell,” a policy enacted to prohibit any homosexual person from serving openly in the U.S. military, continues to exist after the Senate voted, 56 to 43, not to take up a major military bill that contained provisions to repeal the policy.

The Loquitur sees this matter not as a political party feud, but a serious discrimination against our fellow citizens. The policy prohibits any military personnel from revealing their homosexual orientation, engaging in physical contact with someone of the same sex for the purposes of sexual gratification or marrying someone of the same sex. These regulations against gay people completely defy our country’s belief in equality.

In a recent rally against the policy, pop star sensation Lady Gaga urged senators to repeal the policy, insisting that a new policy be created that would instead force homophobic soldiers to be discharged if they felt uncomfortable. The singer stated, “If you are not honorable enough to fight without prejudice, go home.”

The Loquitur agrees that banning a soldier from the military solely based on his or her sexual status is wrong. Some may want to keep the policy because they are homophobic and say it disrupts “military discipline.” The same arguments were made to segregate African Americans from whites in the military in an earlier time. The U.S. top commander in Iraq has spoken about this policy stating that he believes it should be repealed. “As long as we are still able to fight our wars,” he says, “then it should not prohibit someone who wants to serve our country.”

Admittedly, the military does have regulations against harassment of a service member. However, we see discharging someone dishonorably for their sexual orientation as a form of prejudice. As a result of these prejudices against gay people, our armed services are losing many dedicated personnel.

Opponents admit that, although the policy is not perfect, it is effective and has been for almost two decades. On the contrary, statistics show that the effectiveness has taken a toll on U.S. taxpayers. An estimated $600 million has been spent on replacing service members. Over $40,000 is spent on recruiting and training each replacement. Over half a billion dollars is being spent on firing perfectly suitable service men and women. Is dismissing gay people and replacing them with straight people the morally and economically smart thing to do?

We have the ability to push for this act to be repealed. The Loquitur supports all soldiers who serve honorably and sacrifice their lives as their duty. This policy purposefully negates the dignity of homosexual people.

If you could make a difference and honor the men and women, gay and straight alike, would you vote for gay, lesbian and bisexual people to openly serve in the armed forces? We would.

Kelsey Kastrava

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