Commentary: 'Don't ask, don't tell' must go

The Fort Worth Star-TelegramOctober 22, 2009 

What if to keep your job, you were ordered never to reveal your gender, race or ethnicity?

While in some cases others might be able to guess about the traits that make you who you are, you would not have the right to tell them — plainly and simply — so they did not have to speculate.

That would be a silly employment policy, right?

With the "don't ask, don't tell" law in place, forbidding homosexuals in the military from disclosing their sexual orientation, the U.S. has a national policy that codifies discrimination.

It is a law that is out-of-step with the times and now with public opinion.

The Star-Telegram Editorial Board has said for years that those who wish to serve and are qualified should be allowed the honor of showing their loyalty and duty to country by joining the armed forces if they so desire.

They should be able to do that without regard to race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.

President Barack Obama agrees, as he said on the campaign trail and again recently.

"I will end 'don't ask, don't tell,' " Obama vowed once again in an Oct. 10 speech to a gay civil rights advocacy group.

Speaking on the eve of a massive gay rights demonstration in Washington, D.C., the president said, "We should not be punishing patriotic Americans who have stepped forward to serve the county. We should be celebrating their willingness to step forward and show such courage . . . especially when we are fighting two wars."

Well said, and as many gay activists ask: "If not now, when?"

More than 13,500 service members have been kicked out of the military since the "don't ask, don't tell" law was passed and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, according to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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