Last week, the House Armed Services Committee held its first hearing in fifteen years regarding “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a policy put into place in 1993 by President Clinton. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” prevents gay, lesbian and bisexual members of the military from being open about their sexual orientation. Since 1994, over 11,000 people have been discharged from the military due to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.
However, last week’s hearing offered a great amount of hope for the future of BGLT service members. Testimony was heard from many, including retired Captain Joan Darrah, United States Navy, a member of the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church in Virginia. The majority of the testimonies presented favored repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is a discriminatory policy that not only affects the gay, lesbian, and bisexual members of the military but all of us, whether we are friends with those affected or paying our taxes part of which help fund the firing of gay, lesbian or bisexual service members. As Unitarian Universalists and concerned citizens we must take advantage of our current momentum to take a stand against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R. 1246) would repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and replace it with a new provision prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in the Armed Forces. H.R. 1246 would also allow people who have been discharged because of their sexual orientation to apply to rejoin the military. Contact your Representative and Senators today and ask them to support the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, H.R. 1246. Let’s work together to make the United States and the Armed Forces a positive place for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation.