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Don't ask don't tell policy must go
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Editor:
       Don't ask, don't tell violates gay military members' First Amendment's rights to free speech, due process and open association. Equally unjust is the fact don't ask, don't tell damages our military by forcing it to reject talented people as this nation of ours scrambles to fulfill the "needs" of the various services in our time(s) of war.
      Don't ask, don't tell weakens our national security when it disregards a citizen's dedication and willingness to lose his or her life and limb to defend and protect the very Constitution for which we continue to build and strengthen this great nation of ours. Everyone should enjoy and experience equality of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
       Violation of the Constitution's First Amendment rights doesn't help military readiness and instead has a direct and deleterious effect on our armed forces. In May, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal this egregious policy and it now rests with the Senate.
       Just exactly what is Don't Ask Don't Tell? It prohibits the military from asking about the sexual orientation of service members but requires discharge of those who acknowledge being gay or lesbian or are discovered engaging in homosexual activity, even in the privacy of their own homes located off the military installation.
       Again, it is long overdue that equality for all Americans must be implemented. When the United States determined it was time to allow equal rights for blacks, we heard the very same arguments.
      I firmly believe the report/survey will clearly show two things: one, there will not be a large "coming out" of gay and lesbian soldiers. Secondly, it will clearly show that gay and lesbian soldiers should not and must not be classified or put into a "special class" as we did to black soldiers like the Tuskegee Airmen.

You worry about showering with an openly gay man or woman? These concerns will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Again, approximately 70 percent of our surveyed participants will clearly state that the effects of repealing the Don't ask, don't tell policy will be received in a positive, mixed or nonexistent fashion and the much hoped for and anticipated brouhaha just isn't there any longer.
       Benefits such as medical and housing allowances and spousal rights will be addressed on the federal level. The military does not, cannot and will not be allowed to address these issues. In the civilian world, most corporations who have domestic partner benefits have said the costs were minimal and the morale and increase in productivity far exceeded any costs associated with implementing such plans in the industries.
       It is time that we simply not just say "no" to racism, bigotry and hatefulness, but say "hell no," such behavior must go!
John W. Tucker
Major, USAF (Ret.)
Statesboro

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