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Don't Ask, Don't Tell


Former Service Members Tell Their Don't Ask, Don't Tell Stories

Former service members Anthony Woods, of Viginia, Stacy Vasquez, of Texas, and Todd Belok, of Connecticut, listen during a news conference on the repeal of the US military's don't ask don't tell policy for gays and lesbians serving in the military.

© Brendan Smialowski/Getty

Arguments For

Gay advocacy groups, such as Human Rights Watch argue that don't ask, don't tell violates the human rights of homosexuals, deprives skilled personnel from serving in the military and creates a stigma of homosexuality. Proponents of full inclusion of gays in the armed forces also feel that by adopting the policy, military officials are acknowledging that harassment, discrimination and intrusive investigations exist among that ranks.

Jamie Fellner, director of the U.S. Program of Human Rights Watch states that "'Don’t ask, don’t tell' panders to prejudice... Gay and lesbian servicemembers are discharged without regard to their skills, training, commitment or courage — victims of the irrational fears and stereotypes some heterosexuals have about them."

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a national legal service dedicated to aiding those affected by the don't ask, don't tell policy, describes it as "the only law that punishes gays, lesbians, and bisexuals for coming out."

Arguments Against

Supporters of don't ask, don't tell argue that allowing open homosexuals to serve in the military would cause tension and would compromise the cohesiveness and privacy of troops.

According to an AP report, Robert Maginnis, a retired Army colonel and military analyst, "believes gays should be excluded altogether from the armed forces on grounds that their presence can make heterosexual soldiers uncomfortable."

Where It Stands

Readers Respond: Gay Soldiers Speak

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