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The policy should be repealed.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?