Wednesday, March 04, 2009

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" back on the chopping block!

On Monday, Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) introduced Bill H.R.1283, which would replace the U.S. military's so-called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy with a policy of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

"Don't ask, don't tell" was instituted in 1993. While it ended the military's practice of asking potential service members if they are gay, it requires the dismissal of openly gay service members (and people who are already out, presumably, wouldn't be allowed to enlist). That's right, folks, we'll fire if you tell us or we find out that you're gay, but we're cool if you stay in the closet and live in fear that your homophobic co-worker will find out you have a subscription to The Advocate.

To hear the great Maddow speak on the subject, jump to 2:55 below:

Scary things I didn't know about "don't ask, don't tell" until Maddow told me:
- 12,000 people(!!!) have lost their jobs under the policy in the past 15 years
- 2 people get kicked out under the policy every day!!!

The full text of the current bill isn't available online yet, but you can read the previous bill Maddow references, the Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2007. I expect they are substantially similar.

With any luck, this bill will pass through Congress quickly and President Obama will be able to follow through on his commitment to rid the military of this ridiculous policy.

In related news, this week both Argentina and the Philippines both lifted their bans on gays serving in the military. I'd say it's about time the U.S. caught up with the rest of the world.

More coverage:
- Associated Press
- Telegraph
- Pink News
- 365Gay
- Silicon Valley Mercury News
- The Capital Times (Madison, WI)

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