Repeal This!

In a rare Saturday session, the US Senate voted 65-31 to repeal the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” law that was originally signed in 1993 to keep gays and lesbians from serving in our military… or at least serving openly.  Six Republican Senators joined with the Democrats in voting for this stand alone bill.  Those Senators were Maine Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Ohio Senator George Voinovich.  Republican Senators John Ensign of Nevada and Richard Burr of North Carolina also voted for repeal in the second-round of voting after the filibuster attempt had been blocked by the first-round votes.

Now, let’s get the semantics of this out of the way.  Yes, this piece of legislation essentially repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.  However, the law is not a complete thing of the past just yet.  The legislation put the law in the hands of the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as to when and how the law would be phased out so as to not deter from our military readiness.  So there is still a road that must be traveled but the first and major hurdle has now been won and the days are ticking down until it’s gone for good.

Now like every other male in the US, I signed up for the draft when I was 18.  But in doing so, I knew that it was a formality as that I would never be serving anywhere since I am gay.  They could draft me all they wanted to, but I would not hide who I am for them.  And now that I am in my thirties, I can take some comfort in the fact that I’m no longer on the top of the list to be drafted.  That’s not to say that I don’t love my country… quite on the contrary.  I’m just not a violent person.  It is my firm belief that war begets war… and hatred begets hatred.

We have brave men and women that are gay, straight, and bisexual that put their lives on the line every day for our freedoms… for the very freedom that I have right here to share this entry with you.  It is now coming to fruition that those military personnel that are gay will no longer have to hide who they are while doing their duties.  They can feel less like second-class citizens and more like equal members of society.  They are out there fighting for the same rights and privileges as their heterosexual counterparts are fighting for.  They should be on the same playing fields.  Discrimination belongs no where within our society… and today marked a major accomplishment in that quest.  And I applaud all of the Congressmen/Congresswomen and Senators that voted to correct this injustice that was being done.

Our overall society is changing, but the one thing that does remain constant is that we are all Americans and that for those that are gay servicemen (and service-women), they must fight the battle abroad and here at home.  And though, I don’t serve in the military in any way, I take this fight for my rights very seriously.  But as we mark this seemingly victory in our cause, we must think that out there within our community, there are those that hid behind this law as a reason they couldn’t serve our country in the military.  And now we have taken that reasoning away.  Was it for the greater good?  In my opinion…yes.  It was time to stop discharging those brave soldiers that only had the fault of being gay.  Our country will be a much better place when Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is completely gone for good.  But society is moving forward and we must be prepared for the good and the bad that comes with our objectives.

I am reminded of some words written by Joseph Addison in Cato (act III, scene V)…

“Do thou, great Liberty, inspire our Souls, / And make our Lives in thy Possession happy, / Or our Deaths glorious in thy just Defense.”

Today, this victory has the community celebrating.  But tomorrow is a different story altogether.  With the ever growing dangers of our world, we need every able-bodied, brave person that chooses to serve our nation the opportunity to do so.  However, we should always be careful as to that in which we wish for.  It is that Liberty that we hold so dear to us… for it is worth protecting so that our Souls can continue to be inspired by the rising sun of a new day.

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