By Grahm Whitley
As a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, the answer to such a question is both easy and complex. The easy answer is yes homosexuals should be allowed to serve in the military just like everyone else. The complex answer is one that explains why homosexuals should be allowed to serve openly. If homosexuals are allowed to adopt and raise children, if they are allowed to serve as policemen and women, as firemen and women, if they are allowed to be teachers, clergymen and women, if they are allowed to hold public office, if they are made to pay taxes just like everyone else then why shouldn’t they be allowed to serve as openly homosexual people in the military?
The only argument against homosexuals is a religious one. Sometimes these arguments are labeled as “moral” reasons but the backings behind those morals are religious ones. A person of any religious background may serve in the military, so why the same rights shouldn’t be afforded to all sexual orientations as well?
A gay or lesbian is no less a citizen of this country than a straight person is. They are no less equal or less patriotic because they live a “different” life style. Despite this countries so called political correctness and open mindedness, we are still behind many other countries such as Canada, Germany, France and the UK when it comes gays serving openly in the military. And when you have the worlds largest all volunteer fighting force can you really afford to discriminate against a person because of their sexual orientation?
It is time that this country stop pretending that everyone is equal but then turn around and not afford everyone the same rights because of some reason like sexual orientation because that is not what this country was founded for.
Grahm Whitley is a junior majoring in computer science.
By Jean-Gabriel Jolivet
Since “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) was implemented in 1993, more than 13,000 qualified members of the U.S. Armed Services have been discharged under its law. It is sad to think that qualified service members such as Eric Alva, who served with the Marine Corps for 13 years, and Alexander Nicholson, a human intelligence collector who speaks multiple foreign languages, were both discharged because they were gay.
In a time of war, the military should not be discharging qualified personnel; instead, the current political and military leadership should be focusing on keeping its best service members.
Studies show that nearly 1,000 specialists with vital mission critical skills have been discharged. In addition, with a repeal of DADT, it is projected that the U.S. military could attract up to 40,000 persons willing to enlist in active-duty service and reserve. Supporters of DADT, such as Senator McCain, question the impact on troops’ morale and cohesion. In fact, many countries such as Britain, France, Russia, Australia, Canada and Israel to name of few, permit gay people to serve openly, and none of those countries report morale or recruitment problems.
Public opinion polls also support a change in policy. Two February polls, one from the Center for American Progress and one from the Washington Post-ABC News, show that a majority of American voters support repeal. In addition, veterans, especially younger ones, are increasingly comfortable serving alongside lesbian and gay service members.
Finally, 39 members of the House of Representatives recently wrote a letter to President Obama calling on him not to appeal the recent decision from the U.S. District Court for Western Washington calling DADT law unconstitutional.
I support the repeal of DADT and I am one who is urging Attorney General Holder to decline to appeal the case. Our military, and our country, deserve better: qualified service members willing to fight for the USA regardless of their sexual orientation.
Jean-Gabriel Jolivet is Assistant Professor of Political Science and the Pre-Law Advisor.