It being Memorial Day, with the recent activity in Congress to finally do the right thing in this regard, and MOST importantly for the gay soldiers who have served in our military and died for our freedom, I submit the following, which I originally published in January 2009.
I abhor discrimination in any form. It is insidious – the social and economic costs are enormous. The lives that are diminished because of it reflect the real loss that our society endures. It is just plain common sense that we all lose out when we deny opportunity to those willing to take it.
Gay people cannot serve in America’s military. I’ve never understood the argument that someone’s sexual orientation affects their ability to do a job. I do understand that homophobic attitudes certainly impair the ability of gays to function in any capacity.
Under President Clinton, in order to compromise the rules regarding gays, the policy for all sides of the issue became, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” This is patently unfair. A person’s sexual orientation should not be a matter that needs to be revealed or hidden.
Yet, somehow this is still an issue. We need to get past it.
As a veteran of the US Air Force, I can say this… I was always proud to serve beside anyone else (gay or straight, black or white, believer or non-believer, etc.) who took the oath of serving in the military as seriously as I did. Can’t think of anyone I served with who didn’t feel the same general way.
And for those of you still clinging to the foolish concept that being gay is a choice, then I pose the following: If you believe being gay is choice, then you, yourself, should have the ability to choose to feel the same way emotionally and sexually to members of your own gender as you do about the other gender. If you cannot honestly do this, then you are on the road of awareness headed towards reality. On the other hand, if you can honestly do this, you probably have a suspicion that you may have been programmed bi-sexual.
However, the foregoing test is irrelevant when it comes to anyone’s rights as an American. It is important for all of us that gay people have the same rights as straight people because, ponder this, when anyone’s rights are infringed, everyone’s rights are infringed.
To the Gay Community, my apologies as you continue to face this discrimination, along with the other needless indignities you still endure. May it end soon.