As Congress prepares to debate repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell (DADT) today in Washington, our federal representatives should consider the experience of those nations which have allowed gay people to serve openly in their nation’s military. In Politco yesterday, Maj. Peter Kees Hamstra of the Royal Dutch Army, Leif Ohlson of the Swedish Armed Forces and Lt. Com. Craig Jones, retired from the Royal Navy of Britain observe:
Moral opposition to homosexuality, while real, is just not allowed to undercut our militaries’ missions.
Nor do we think it will have any impact on yours after you repeal “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”
This is an important point because many Americans seem to believe that ending anti-gay discrimination in European and Israeli militaries faced no resistance because our cultures are more tolerant.
In fact, our polls, rhetoric and even threats of mass resignations were quite similar to the continuing resistance in America. Yet none of the doomsday scenarios came true.
According to research and assessments of our transitions, the new policies had no negative impact on military readiness.
Once again, the experience from nations which have allowed gay people to serve openly in the military shows that such service does not compromise military readiness or unit cohesion.
The plan before Congress appears to be a good compromise, repealing the Clinton-era legislation which prevents gays people from serving openly while giving the Administration the authority to work with the military to allow for a smooth implementation of the new policy.