Opinion

Commentary: Maybe 'don't ask, don't tell' should just be 'don't ask'

President Barack Obama wants to change the law to allow gay Americans to serve openly in the U.S. armed forces. He's got the support of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, his secretary of defense and retired Gen. Colin Powell. But the military is divided on the issue and it remains unresolved and volatile. Here are three thoughts on the subject:

• Cut the current policy down to "don't ask."



Gay Americans serve now. Current law imposes a "don't ask, don't tell" standard on their service. If gays do come out, or if someone outs them, they face discharge from the service, no matter how well or how long they've served. They can follow the "don't ask, don't tell" policy to a T but if someone even inadvertently discovers they are gay, they can be discharged. About 10,900 members of the armed forces have been discharged under the law.

Soldiers can serve this country with distinction, invest years of sweat and blood, and have the string pulled on them even if they make every effort to follow Uncle Sam's rules because someone discovered they are gay. That's just wrong.

So why not make sexual orientation officially a non-issue in the military? Basically, it shouldn't be anybody's business.

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