What should happen with the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy?

President Obama recently repeated his promise to repeal the Clinton-era law concerning gays in the military. What should happen with the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy?

Comments from the Public Insight Network:

It’s a nasty reminder of Bill Clinton’s decision to cave to idiot fundie opposition that should have gone away a long time ago. There is no reason to continue it one day longer. We’re losing good people (including badly needed linguists) because no one in or out of uniform has the courage of character to confront mindless prejudices based on irrational religious misinterpretations of what is basically tribal anthropology. And I say this (a) as a confirmed heterosexual and (b) a ‘Nam-era Army vet (and linguist). -Dick Schaaf, Apple Valley, MN

It should be removed entirely. Sexual orientation should not be part of the military’s consideration for who serves the country. All orientations should be held to the military’s standards for proper behavior, respect, etc. There shouldn’t be some sort of discrimination on the basis of orientation, nor should there be an expectation that orientation is something to be kept quiet. -Cole Sarar, Minneapolis, MN

The policy should be repealed. The tendency to same sex attraction is a serious psychological issue and should not be treated as healthy. Individuals with other serious psychological issues, though otherwise physically healthy, would not be considered candidates for the military. The same rule should apply to homosexuals. -Mary Kratz, Stillwater, MN

To put it simply, the policy is unfair, impractical, and absurd in a country that professes to value basic freedoms and equality. I can understand the hesitancy for those who are acting on instruction provided by their church or more traditional upbringing, but the time for an acceptance of these irrational fears is past. Let them serve. Let them serve openly. And God bless them for their service to our country. -Brad White, Dellwood, MN

It should be eliminated and people should be able to serve regardless of sexual orientation. -Richard Rowan, St. Paul, MN

Really – there is no need for it. We as a society should be more tolerant of the stuff going on in the world today in terms of relationships. If anything, a bigger responsibility of it all should fall on the parents and explaining in an open dialogue. And if they want to honor their country, then they should be allowed to do so without question to their sexual orientation. -Ali Elabbady, Roseville, MN

It should have never been signed or enacted in the first place. I am not saying that people should flaunt their sexuality. However, most military personnel do not go around saying to others “let me tell you about my sexual orientation.” They want to be able to serve just as others, who picked this line of work. It is always interesting how those who constantly point fingers at those they deemed outsiders are the same people who are hypocrites. They cheat on their wives, abuse prescriptions drug and then have the audacity to stick their nose in places it does not belong. -Victoria Karpeh, Brooklyn Park, MN

It should go away. The reason given for the “Don’t Ask” policy is that straight soldiers living in close quarters with gay soldiers will feel threatened or uncomfortable, but gay people have spent their teens changing and showering with their own genders in gym class and sleeping with their own genders on school trips. If anyone has learned to control their sexual urges in close quarters, it’s gay people. The military should really be addressing straight men’s inability to control their sexual urges- the incidence of men raping women is much higher in the military than in the general population. -Mark Wohlers, Minneapolis, MN

Dump it ASAP. Sixteen years ago DADT was a shaky first step towards equality, yes, but it was at least a shaky step forward. Times have changed; now polling data overwhelmingly show that Americans— both inside and outside the military— have gotten used to the idea of having GLBT individuals serving among those who do the Pentagon’s bidding. Discharging highly and expensively trained personnel because of whom they love or lust is shameful, wasteful and, above all, tactically stupid. Ours is one of the few nations that hasn’t accepted this reality. Why does “American exceptionalism” so often seem to come at the expense of social justice? -Bill Greuling, Minneapolis, MN

It is best described as silly. It was a compromise squeezed out of old myths and practices, and it has not served the institution well. It should go away. Sexual orientation should not be considered any more than race, religion or hair color. -Pat Krueger, St. Cloud, MN

Dump this stupid and hateful policy. Allow the military personnel who have been discriminated against be reinstated. People should be removed for good cause, not for who they are. -Margaret Catambay, Minneapolis, MN

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” simply needs to be abolished. The military has led the way o racial and gender integration. With eucation and clear policies the military can make an important contribution to American social development by following the leads of other Western nations for whom the open presence of homosexual soldiers in their armies has not proved to be a problem. Forcing homosexual soldiers into the closet has damaged good people and our military organizations in incalculable ways. It will take a unifed front and a firm resolve by leadership to make it happen, however — getting to that point may be the biggest channel. -Ted Snyder, St. Paul, MN

It’s my belief that the law should be repealed. This is not only a political battle but a generational struggle. The quest for equanimity in rights and responsibilities is an individualized process over the ages, and it’s time for the newer generations to express politically their solutions for change. -Guthrie Horgan, Chaska, MN

Realistically and in all fairness, it should be repealed. On the other hand, it is a way to actually get out of the Military. -Mary Smith, Little Falls, MN

Eliminate it! Opposition to gays in the military is viewed by many from a religious perspective, while using the excuse of spoiling unit cohesiveness as their cover. As such, this is a matter of Separation of Church and State. Homophobia, like racism, is a divisive disease that festers, often with tragic outcomes. Gays are equally as capable and patriotic as the next guy. Knowing that so many of the world’s famous we revere are, or were gay, makes “Don’t ask don’t tell” a mockery, not only of the Christian faith, but democracy and of ourselves as moral people. -Corinne Livesay, White Bear Lake, MN

The military has been a leader of reform, but not voluntarily in most cases. Beginning with President Truman, they have managed change, and there is no better place to do so. They have been behind the people in the case of gays, and it’s time they caught up. Don’t ask, Don’t tell must be repealed. -Michael Kellett, Roseville. MN

This shameful relic of Republican pandering to their “base” of conservative fanatics has been damaging our reputation, our ethics and our military preparedness for so long, it’s time to scuttle it before we get too close to another election and it turns into another issue for the Republicans to use. -Richard Johnston, New York, NY

My Dad, a physician, is a veteran of the Army medical corps. He served in the WWII Army of Occupation in Japan, and as a psychiatrist, he helped the troops cope with their own fear and grief at the sight of the devastation to Nagasaki and Hiroshima. My other Dad, a professor of electrical engineering, is a little older — he served as a ship’s engineer in the Pacific during WWII. My husband’s father was an Air Force pilot in WWII. And my husband is a Vietnam veteran, an army platoon sergeant. I am a 52 yr old woman, never drafted, but all my menfolk, gay, straight, or bi, served proudly & with honor. That stupid law is bigotry. End it. -Karen Wills, Minneapolis, MN

I watched Obama’s speech at the Human Rights Campaign Annual Dinner and was impressed by all the promises he made, including “I will end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, that’s my commitment to you.” I support this commitment, but my concern is this: when LGBT members of the military are allowed to be open about their sexual orientations and gender identities, how will the military educate soldiers, protect the safety of LGBT soldiers, and otherwise prepare for this large-scale coming out? -Natalie Ehalt, Minneapolis, MN

The policy has hurt individuals who wanted to serve our country, causing them pain and depleting the pool of talent available to staff the armed services. Other countries have learned there is no need for a policy that increasingly looks dated and barbarous. -Steve Grooms, St. Paul, MN

Congress should immediately pass a law to allow every able bodied man and woman to serve in the armed forces of the United States. Why should such a large section of the population be prohibited from serving. Regardless of what they say gays and lesbians have always served in the military but in the closet. Why should someone have to hide and lie about themselves in order to serve in defense of our freedoms. I believe sexual orientation is determined at conception and nothing can be done to change that but you can be made to or chose to deny your sexual orientation but that doesn’t change the fact that you are gay or lesbian and always will be. -Paul Moe, Minnetonka, MN

Share your reply in the comments: What should happen with the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy?

  • Steven

    If the draft were ever re-instituted, I wouldn’t want people to be able to dodge it just by claiming to be gay.

  • Eric

    A Bush-era tactic should be used: bomb it.

  • Jake Rassat

    We should lose it. If soldiers are as tough as they claim to be, they shouldn’t be threatened by someone’s sexuality. It’s as simple as that. Not to mention how outdated the policy is, but I think that one has been obvious for quite sometime.

  • georgiana anderson

    Repeal it . It was stupid then,stupider now.We have lost too many good people this way. What about all those Arabic speakers? What a damn waste.

  • Suzy Ahrens

    It should be repealed. I’m tired of my tax money going to a government entity that blatantly discriminates against a group of patriotic, tax paying citizens who simply want to honorably serve their country.

  • Chris

    Get rid of it. If people are angry that they may have to serve with a gay person they don’t have to join the military. There are plenty of jobs for haters on FOXNEWS.

  • Mike in St Paul

    There’s no need for it, and it excludes too many people that would otherwise be happy to serve in their country’s military.

  • Jason

    I have several Gay friends who put their life on the line for our country by serving in our military. They risk MORE than the average soldier does. They risk life and limb, AND their retirement, financial well-being — if they were ever kicked out.

    They do all this to defend the rights of people like Mary Kratz — who openly spread hate and live un-informed lives…

    Honor them, don’t dishonor them. Repeal.

  • Debbie DeBlieck

    I don’t believe having this policy is necessary. If a person , male or female, wants to serve our country in the Armed Forces they should be able to no matter what their sexual preference is. What does that have to do with wanting to serve your country and bring freedom and human rights to other countries that so desperately need it? It purely discrimination here.

  • Cary

    Like other obviously discriminatory policies in our past, it should quickly be dumped in the dustbin of history. Until our country stops treating some people like second-class citizens, we will continue to have a second-class culture.

  • Robyn

    As the policy is a denial of basic human rights, it really needs to just go away.

  • Jill Young

    It should say Don’t Care.

  • Mike in Andover

    If we eliminate the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy, we are eliminating the separation of sexes in military sleeping and showering facilities. If a straight person has to take a shower with a known homosexual person, why would the Services have different arrangements for males and females? If the Services doesn’t do this, then you know someone is going to sue them. There will be a lot of fallout if this policy is eliminated. We will find out if the good of the few out weight the good of the many.

  • Alison

    Last I knew the military was having a hard time recruiting enough people to serve. It seems to me the military can ill afford to push away candidates over this. But, if the US wants to continue its homophobic discrimination it deserves what it gets in terms of the loss of fine leaders and soldiers.

  • Jess

    Ignorance and bigotry should be considered psychological issues. Mary Kratz, please seek out some education and experiences with the GLBT community and you’ll realize sexuality is only one aspect of a person. That the GLBT community is rich with people of compassion, dignity, service, and intelligence. If anyone knows this Mary Kratz, reach out to her to help her become less bigoted.

    The policy should be repealed and military leaders should be outspoken and supportive of the GLBT members who serve our country courageously.

  • Karen S.

    It should be fully repealed and not replaced with any other rule or law that permits such discrimination. Homosexuality is a normal human variant, not a disease or condition to be feared, any more than brown eyes vs blue eyes. Creating artificial shields to ‘protect’ heterosexuals only perpetuates the fear and ignorance about the diversity of humanity that leads to unnecessary conflict. Teaching acceptance of differences makes more sense.

  • Sara

    Gay and straight soldiers are sacrificing their lives today for us. It shouldn’t matter what your sexual orientation is….bullets don’t discriminate!

  • Michael Venske

    Just as Germany doesn’t spend much time “asking or telling” about their involvement with World War Two, the United States should take a cue from the German government; repeal the policy and forever be ashamed of how un-American the policy truly was.

  • Elizabeth T

    Come on – sexual harassment is the problem combined with sexual prejudices.

    I never hear these complaints reported from women soldiers, only men.

    If a man sexually harasses another man …? Apparently the army will collapse. But the same men apparently don’t seem to put sexual harassment of women on par with themselves.

    If men are feeling insecure about being around other men – perhaps it should make them reconsider the women they serve with.

    If no one feared sexual harassment, the entire thing would be moot.

  • John Jelatis

    Conservatives are saying “We have to talk with military personnel before repealing DADT.” This would be like saying “We must confer with the Klan before passing the Civil Rights Act.” Anyone who objects to equal treatment for all Americans does not understand our constitution. It is time to end this terrible policy and repeal DADT!

  • kennedy

    The way I see it, the justification of the policy has been to prevent disruptive activities. Gay soldiers ogling/harassing straight soldiers trying to get sex. Or straight soldiers threatening/assaulting openly gay soldiers and disrupting the cohesiveness of the team.

    The policy should prohibit disruptive behavior. If your behavior creates a hostile environment for your fellow soldiers, disciplinary action should be taken.

  • David Arcaine

    Isn’t it about time to mature as a society? Tolerance is the price of freedom, yet we continue to think we can pick and choose which people get these freedoms. It’s time to accept people for who they are, despite race, color, creed, or religious beliefs, because we have much more in common with each other than not.

  • MIchael

    If it’s against federal law for employers to discriminate based on sexual preference (among many other things), how can our military justify doing so without retribution? How can we say that becuase someone is gay, that they are less of a patriot? We can’t we shouldn’t – get rid of it!

  • Jack Goldman

    Gays in military? Is there a more irrelevant issue? America has debased it’s currency 90% since 1971. We have unlimited income taxes that only go up. The US pubic debt has risen from 2 Trillion dollars in 1987 to 11 Trillion dollars today, paid interest only, forever. America has wasted a Trillion dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan in a war lasting twice as long as World War Two, accomplishing nothing.

    Liberals promote bias for Hebrews, Africans, Women, and Gays as good bias while Rome burns. The gays in military is a smoke screen meaningless issue distracting us from our own descent and fall. The issue is what is happening to our money and budgets.

    Jack Goldman

    St. Paul, MN

  • dave

    time for don’t ask don’t tell to become “don’t worry, don’t care”.

  • Adam

    DADT is discrimination, pure and simple. No other law or policy targets a group of Americans and explicitly demands they be fired from their job. Like everyone else here, I think it should be revoked immediately.

  • James J. Johnson

    Gays ARE serving in our military. Gays ARE working for the same company you work for. Gays ARE elected to our state & federal house and senate. Gays ARE attending the same school as your children.

    Do we eliminate them from all aspects of our society or do we accept that this is a natural variant to sexuality that isn’t a choice and therefore learn to live with them and get along with them just as we do with others that are different from us?

    The answer is that we accept reality and let them serve in all the activities listed above without discrimination. If we attack them the next person we might attack is you.

  • Doug

    In my opinion this is not a civil rights issue; it’s a moral issue. The United States military will suffer permanent dammage if it officially recognizes homosexual behavior as “normal” and acceptable in any way.

    ex-Navy sailor

  • Marcela

    We are asking people to put their life at risk, but do not care about their religious beliefs, gender or race. How is it we care about their sexual orientation?

  • Vicki Brady

    I served 17 years in the Air Force and I didn’t see the need for DADT when it came out and do not see the need for it now. The reasons they give for not allowing gays and lesbians in the military are the same ones used for denying blacks and women to serve equally in the armed forces. The military was integrated and women are now allowed to serve in virtually any career field and the DOD has not imploded. When there is an all volunteer military, ANYONE who wishes to serve and serve honorably should be allowed to do so. If you are at war and your main concern is if the man or woman fighting next to you is looking at you with sexual interest, then you deserve to die because you are obviously not focused on the priorities.

  • Al Heebsh

    The question as to why gays should want to serve a nation that denies them the rights that straight people are entitled to is one that baffles me. It’s as confusing as the existence of the Buffalo Soldiers or the Tuskegee Airmen.

  • elisabeth

    We care about other’s sexuality? Really? Why? We need to pay attention to people’s behavior, ethics, passions, humanity, lots of things, but not their sexuality. Honestly. 2009. Sigh.

  • Lil

    We are fighting a war on two fronts and we’re not exactly doing so hot on the retention end of recruitment.

    I don’t see it as an issue. If you can do your job, and respect your fellow service members that should be all that concerns anybody. The US Military is an Equal Oportunity nightmare. Women and gays have been targeted by so called “straight” men since either have stepped up to serve. I will never buy the noise from the Military concerning “Equal Oportunity”.

    “Don’t ask, Don’t tell”? How about “Do your job and mind your own PERSONAL business.” instead?

    What a waste of time this has been.

  • ex Air Force Officer

    They should be allowed to serve. I can’t believe that we waste our time debating this issue.

  • http://behindthismaskisanidea.blogspot.com/ Andrew

    I don’t really care about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: “ooo boy! Now, not only straights, but gays can overseas and murder and occupy nations just to secure American Business interests! YAY!” As an anti-imperialist and a pacifist who is against all violent American involvement in other countries issues (except for Haiti and any other natural disasters in which they peacefully bring aid) I say DADT thins out the military which makes me happy because there are less people to murder and occupy other countries. The American Empire has grown far to big for far too long and, like Rome, the world will be a much safer place when it falls.