Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Pride & Patriotism: Is the era of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Over?

Posted By on Tue, Jul 8, 2008 at 3:12 PM

This week's cover story delves into the issue of gays serving in the military, and the hope by gay activists that the days of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" are numbered.

click to enlarge news_cover1-1_09.jpg
Their position got a boost yesterday when a report by three retired military leaders concluded that Congress should repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

"Evidence shows that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly is unlikely to pose any significant risk to morale, good order, discipline or cohesion," the report says. It points to other countries — such as Great Britain and Israel — that have allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly without incident.

The report was written for the Michael D. Palm Center at the University of California at Santa Barbara, an advocacy group that supports the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

It was authored by three retired officers: a lieutenant general from the Army, a general from the Marines and a lieutenant general from the Air Force. Two are Democrats, one is a Republican.

While John McCain supports keeping the law in place, Barack Obama wants to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." If Obama is elected, and if the Democrats retain control of Congress, gay activists will make a major push in the next two years to have the law repealed.

"We have great optimism," says Jeff Cleghorn, an Atlanta lawyer who is on the board of directors of the national organization Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. "A significant number of people both inside and out of the military now think gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve."

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

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