Pentagon Report Supports Open Gay Service
The fight to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), the policy which prohibits homosexual men and women from serving openly in the Armed Forces of the United States, was aided this week by the release of a Defense Department study concluding that repealing the policy would not hurt the military’s ability to fight.
Repealing the policy was one of the pillars of the Obama candidacy and this week the President called for the Senate to complete the House approval for repeal, saying, “Today’s report confirms that a strong majority of our military men and women…are prepared to serve alongside Americans who are openly gay or lesbian.” The President has come under scrutiny from the Left and those in the LGBT community for not being strong enough in his demand that the policy be repealed. However, outside of the bully pulpit, President Obama lacks the Constitutional power to overturn a policy enacted by Congress.
It is believed all Democrats in the Senate will support the measure, but it remains to be seen if a few moderate Republicans will join them. Although repeal is supported by a overwhelming majority of military brass, including four-star general and former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell, the strongest opposition is coming from former war hero and P.O.W., Senator John McCain, R-AZ. Senator McCain stated in 2006, “…the day that the leadership of the military comes to me, and says Senator, we ought to change the policy, than I think we ought to seriously consider changing it.” And although military high-ranking officials Defense Chief Robert Gates and Chief of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen called for a DADT repeal two years ago, the data to support such a move was made tangible this week—a study that McCain called for. However, the Senator seems to be staying with his sinking ship of opposition. The hypocrisy is sad and laughable at the same time.
The repeal of DADT a is political must-have for President Obama’s reelection hopes. Although the power of passage lies with Congress, he alone will have to carry the burden of not following through with a campaign promise to end sexual-orientation discrimination in the military. National polling and moral obligation make this a win-win situation for the White House, Democrats, and moderate Republicans—a rarity in this polarized environment. If President Obama cannot deliver he will face even more criticism from an already angered base. Let’s hope for our sake, as a nation based on equality, a military based on the abilities of the finest soldiers, and a campaign based on real progress, that the policy will be changed in the near future.