Fridays the LA Progressive features a comment that was particularly noteworthy. This week we are featuring a comment submitted by MyLeftMind, commenting on “Is Wartime a Time to End Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?,” by Mary L. Dudziak. Here’s MLM’s comment:
As a veteran, I can assure you that there are plenty of gay people who want to and do serve in the military, and they serve with honor. While anti-gay bigots push for continued oppression on the grounds that honesty and openness would somehow destroy troop cohesion, forcing gay and lesbian service members to hide their sexual identity is even more antithetical to military readiness.
With the recent high profile discharges of highly trained, essential military personnel (such as Arabic translators and fighter pilots like decorated war hero Lt. Col. Fehrenbach we spent about $25 Million training over the years), it’s clear the Obama Administration has to do something to stop the drain of resources. More than 12,500 service men and women have been discharged on the basis of sexual orientation since the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was implemented, at a cost of over $360 million. This abhorrent witch-hunt policy has unnecessarily ruined the careers of over 13, 000 Americans and deprived our military of many highly trained and much needed men and women. For the overall struggle of gay equality (and the respect and dignity that come with equal legal treatment), this policy does nothing less than send the blatantly false message by our government to the entire American citizenry that honest gay people cannot reasonably be expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, thereby contributing to our dehumanization in this society as beings who are nothing but our sexuality.
When and if this policy is ever repealed (note the built in loopholes for Obama & the Pentagon), it will show anti-gay conservatives to be once again the hysterics and fear-mongers that they are and, who knows, that might even get some people thinking that maybe they’re equally wrong and hysterical about gay rights in general.
But LGBT citizens face an even larger problem with the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Repealing DADT is important, but the Democratic Party and our progressive agenda pays an even higher price for lack of action on gay rights. As long as the marriage equality issue is left unresolved, the right wing will use it as a fundraiser and a Get Out The Vote strategy. If Obama and the Dems would repeal DOMA and give equal rights for states that allow same sex marriage, the issue would be over. States that refuse to marry gays will still do so for the next 10-50 years, but same sex couples will simply get married in states that offer marriage equality. And this hot button issue will be mostly put to rest, so we can focus our energy on fixing the economy and the environment without the gay issue motivating the right wing religious base to vote against us.