What's up with DADT?

Now’s the time to get Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repealed.

By Aaron Kase
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Apr. 27, 2010

Share this Story:

Photo by Pedro Molino

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) will speak at the equality forum about their efforts to end Clinton-era "Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT)" legislation banning gays from serving in the military. SLDN offers counseling to service members affected by DADT, shares stories of the 14,000 soldiers fired from the military under the regulations and works to build public support to end the ban. After years of advocacy, they are committed to ending DADT this year. We spoke with SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis about the group's efforts.

What’s the most important of SLDN’s activities?

As the leading national organization for repeal [of DADT] we advocate to overturn this law and replace it with a policy of nondiscrimination regarding sexual orientation. SLDN is working with our repeal coalition to build support on Capitol Hill for repeal legislation in both the House (HR 1283) and the Senate (S. 3065). Earlier this week, SLDN launched a national new media campaign, “Stories from the Frontlines: Letters to President Barack Obama,” to highlight the urgent need for congressional and presidential leadership on DADT repeal in 2010. Each weekday morning, SLDN’s Frontlines blog—and 25 other blogs that have signed on so far—will publish an open letter to President Obama from a service member who has been fired under DADT. With less than 30 days before a key vote on the Senate Armed Services Committee, we are working to build momentum for repeal and secure the needed 15 votes to overturn DADT this year.

Why is now the time to repeal DADT?

During a time of two wars, it is important for the military to have as many qualified service men and women as possible to protect our national security. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” deprives the armed forces of individuals with the skills it needs—more than 14,000 service members have been discharged since DADT became law in 1993. At least one more service member is fired each day. Some of these service members include those with specialized skills, including Arabic linguists, medics and engineers. Our military deserves the best, and we can do better than “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Are you satisfied with Obama’s progress on DADT? Has he fulfilled his campaign promises to the gay community?

The president reaffirmed his commitment to repeal DADT in his Jan. 27 State of the Union, saying: “This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It’s the right thing to do.” Now is the time for the President to show even more leadership during this critical time in the repeal fight. SLDN is urging the President to include repeal in the Administration’s defense budget recommendations, but also to voice his support for repeal in 2010 as we approach important votes in the Senate Armed Services Committee next month. We need the president to be on the phone asking members of Congress to vote for repeal of DADT.

Why is it important to gain the freedom to serve in the military openly?

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” weakens unit cohesion and military readiness because it undermines the military’s core values of honesty and integrity. Service members are forced to lie about who they are under DADT. This discriminatory law creates secrecy and division within units, and doing away with DADT will make our military stronger by allowing patriots to serve openly and honestly with the colleagues they are supposed to trust.

Why is it important to gain the freedom to serve in the military openly?

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” weakens unit cohesion and military readiness because it undermines the military’s core values of honesty and integrity. Service members are forced to lie about who they are under DADT. This discriminatory law creates secrecy and division within units, and doing away with DADT will make our military stronger by allowing patriots to serve openly and honestly with the colleagues they are supposed to trust.

Add to favoritesAdd to Favorites PrintPrint Send to friendSend to Friend

COMMENTS

ADD COMMENT

Rate:
(HTML and URLs prohibited)

Related Content

Onward and OUTward
By Paul F. Montgomery

This year, faced with Philly’s $18,000 city-services bill, SundayOUT had to find new digs.

Related Content

Fall River Boys
By Roberta Fallon

Thomas, Trevor, Kevin, Craig and the rest—with their baggy pants, bandanas, piercings and cigarettes—bare their souls for Richard Renaldi and pose with no semblance of attitude or pretense.

Related Content

Out in the Silence
By Matt Prigge

Homophobia, the film subtly suggests, is so high school. The hatred that fuels teenagers to berate homosexuals hardly matures in adulthood.

Related Content

Divided We Dance: Black Gays Get Their Own Party Started
By Gerry Christopher Johnson

A peek inside gay bars and clubs reveals that racial integration isn’t the norm.

Related Content

Preacher's Sons
By Sean Burns

With its shoddy digital video photography, poor production values and borderline incompetent editing, I feel churlish beating up on Preacher’s Sons. Too bad good intentions don’t always translate into good movies.

RELATED: Baby Blues

Related Content

Brian Sanders Dance Tribute
By J. Cooper Robb

At just 43, Sanders has been one of the city’s most innovative and popular choreographers for more than two decades.