Opinion

Commentary: 'Don't ask, don't tell' should be dropped by military

This editorial appeared in The Kansas City Star.

Amy Brian served courageously in Iraq as a member of the Kansas Army National Guard. Back in the States, she was honored for her work reorganizing the Kansas National Guard's government purchase card program.

Her record and numerous commendations reveal her to be smart, dedicated and ambitious – just the sort of person the nation needs in the armed forces.

Yet Brian has been deemed unfit to do so because of another revelation. A civilian co-worker in Topeka told military superiors that she saw Brian kissing another woman in a Wal-Mart.

Brian, who is open about being a lesbian, recently became the first person to be discharged from the Kansas Army National Guard under the federal policy that bars gay and lesbian persons from military service if their sexual identity is known.

Her discharge is a compelling reason for President Barack Obama to do away with the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that Bill Clinton initiated in 1993.

It was seen then as a way for homosexual soldiers to serve, as long as they kept their sexual identities private. But nearly 12,500 soldiers were discharged under the rule through 2007.

Justification for the policy was dubious in 1993. Today, it is all but nonexistent.

The argument for "don't ask, don't tell" was that the presence of openly gay and lesbian soldiers would impair combat readiness.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Kansas City Star.

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