Unasked, They Told . . . and Still Serve

Unasked, They Told . . .  and Still Serve.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has become “wink-wink” as more openly-gay and lesbian people are serving in the military, according to the Associated Press, Christian Science Monitor, and USA Today.

Since President Clinton approved the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in 1993, nearly 12,000 gay and lesbian troops have been discharged, but such actions have fallen sharply since the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts began. 65,000 gay men and lesbians currently serve in the military, reserve units and National Guard, 36,000 on active duty, according to a study by the Urban Institute.

A congressional bill to amend the U. S. Code to permit openly gay and lesbian troops to serve in the military (H.R. 1246, the Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2007) has 136 cosponsors but is not expected to get out of committee before the 2008 elections.

Advocates for changing the law to permit openly-gay and lesbian troops in the military include 28 retired generals and admirals (among them retired Army Gen. John Shalikashvili,former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) the Michael D. Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN).

Expect this issue in the headlines in the next few days as Army Sgt. Darren Manzella, 1st Cavalry medic who has served in Iraq and Kuwait, comes to Washington. Sgt. Manzella claims his superiors at Fort Hood, TX, allowed his redeployment to Iraq even though he revealed his sexual orientation to them.

US Army 1st Cavalry Division

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