The Leaf-Chronicle has editorialized that the ban on gays serving in the military should be lifted. The paper, which serves the Clarksville-Montgomery county area, has been critical of the ban for years. Clarksville is home to Fort Campbell, which has had one of the highest ejection rates of gay soldiers in the last year. The editorial says:
U.S. Rep. Martin Meehan, D-Mass, once again has introduced legislation that would scrap the so-called “don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t pursue” policy for the military. Since that policy was included in the 1994 Defense Authorization Act, it has allowed homosexuals to serve in the military as long as they did not state their sexual orientation and do not engage in homosexual conduct. This newspaper supports Meehan in his efforts.
One reader commented that they took this stand to rile the “conservative populace.” You know, I really don’t think they took this stand just to rile people. In fact, according to most polls (including soldiers), an overwhelming majority of people believe that gay and lesbian people should be allowed to serve openly in the military. The editorial continues:
Retired Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, the first Marine to be wounded in the Iraq war, will serve as the Human Rights Campaign’s national spokesman in an effort to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
Alva, who has announced he is gay, was in charge of 11 Marines in a supply unit in Iraq in 1993 when he stepped on a land mine and lost his right leg. He was awarded a Purple Heart and received a medical discharge from the military.
Indeed, bullets, land mines, missiles, grenades and roadside bombs do not discriminate. They don’t care if you are black or white, Protestant or Catholic, male or female, gay or straight.
This policy has been an abject failure from the start. When coupled with tragic events like the brutal murder of pfc. Barry Winchell in 1998, it becomes clear that foring people to hide an important part of their lives is just not working. In the last year, several decorated high-level officials including a former secretary of defense, have spoken out against this policy. Sgt. Alva is just one of thousands of soldiers who have served our country with honor.
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing several gay soldiers who served in our armed forces, and all of them have pristine records. They’re strong members of our society, have stable relationships, and work hard for their families. The Military Readiness Act is a bill whose time has come, and I join with The Leaf-Chronicle in support of this bill. LET THEM SERVE.