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Modify Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell to allow gays to serve as linguists

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 7:22 pm - February 17, 2005.
Filed under: War On Terror

In a post today noting that despite “untranslated terrorist intercepts . . . posing a significant security threat to the United States,” Christian Grantham notes that the federal government continues to discharge gay linguists under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Christian is right to ask:

why is the political agenda of discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans taking priority over tracking down these terrorists? Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a clear danger to the national security interests of the United States of America.

I urge the President to either move for an immediate repeal of this misguided law or, at the very least, ask government lawyers to try to interpret the law to allow openly gay members to serve the military in such “auxiliary” roles as translators. I’m no expert on military law nor am I familiar with the wording of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell legislation, but perhaps its language offers wiggle room for individuals serving in non-combat roles. (I’ll be forwarding this post to a lawyer friend of mine to solicit his comments.)

If that’s not possible, then we have former President Clinton to blame for this situation. Before he signed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the ban on gays in the military was administrative policy not an actual law. The president could have overturned — or modified — the policy with the stroke of a pen. Had Clinton not signed the bill, President Bush could merely have issued an executive order exempting linguists from the gay ban.

Perhaps some Congressman or Senator should introduce a bill which would limit the application of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to enlisted personnel. Or modify the law so that it does not apply to linguists. Gay activists may complain that such legislation would not go far enough and demand instead an outright repeal of the law. They would be right that this proposal doesn’t go far enough, but in opposing this modification, they would be making the perfect the enemy of the good.

While I daresay this Congress would not repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, it might consider a few minor changes. In pushing for these changes, we need to promote them as part of the War on Terror. To show how allowing gays to serve in the military — even in this limited capacity — would help defend our nation against terrorist attacks and so further our national security.

-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com

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