Gays in the Military

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The issue regarding a homosexual’s right to serve openly in the armed forces of the United States has become quite a controversial topic over the past few months. It started with President Obama’s first State of the Union address, in which he pledged to repeal the current “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that was put in place in 1993 by congress under President Clinton, in which gays are allowed to serve in the military as long as they do not disclose their sexual orientation. Recently, Obama has made good on his promise of “change”, and brought the debate on whether or not to repeal the DADT policy to congress and it is currently under review. If the policy is repealed, it would allow for gays to serve openly in the armed forces; which means that not only could they freely disclose their sexual orientation, but could also engage in homosexual behavior without recourse. The important question we as Americans need to be asking ourselves is “would repealing the DADT truly make our armed forces stronger, or would it in fact weaken our country’s military strength?” The truth is that although gay rights are an important issue that needs to be dealt with within our nation; homosexuality within the armed forces would actually deteriorate the military effectiveness of our country’s fighting force; and the repeal of the current DADT policy would be an extremely costly mistake for our country to make.

A recent poll taken by the Washington Post / ABC news showed that 75 percent of Americans support ending the DADT policy (Capehart, 2010); and a similar New York Times survey indicated that 70 percent of Americans show support for gay men and lesbians serving openly in the armed forces (Sussman, 2010). The problem with these extremely high numbers in support of the repeal is that it has become evident that Americans are looking at this issue solely as a gay rights issue, rather than the military effectiveness issue that it really is. After all, the true purpose of having a United States military is to protect the American citizens from enemies both foreign and domestic; therefore any policy change that could affect our military’s strength, morale, readiness, and effectiveness should be carefully considered before being put into place.

First and foremost, it is critical to understand that being able to serve in the armed forces of the United States is not a constitutional right. In fact, there are many restrictions that prevent people from joining the armed forces based on a variety of different factors. To name a few, there are weight restrictions, medical restrictions, age restrictions, drug use history restrictions, tattoo restrictions, and the list goes on. Recent studies have shown that of the American youth within the age to serve; only 25 percent are actually eligible to join the armed forces (Stone, 2009). These restrictions are not put in place to make recruiting and staffing the armed forces more difficult, but are there to ensure that our fighting force is ready and capable to fight and win the nation’s wars.

The military has the absolute right to discriminate upon who can and cannot join the service based upon whether or not that group of people will benefit or weaken the force. For example, is it wrong that a 55 year old man cannot enlist and become a Marine if he wants to? Is it wrong that a 300 pound woman cannot join the Navy? Or a heroin addict cannot enlist in the Army? Absolutely not. The military has the right to pick and choose who they want to join their ranks based upon the needs of that particular branch of service. The issue surrounding gay and lesbian service is no different. It creates obvious logistical problems for housing soldiers in close quarters. The fact that men and women serve together is already enough strain as it is.

To illustrate my point I am going to give you an example. In the Army, there is a ratio of how many bathrooms per soldier are required during field...
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