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Don't Ask Don't Tell

By MyUnluckyCharms Jun 05, 2013 1177 Words
Ciara Loughnane
Period 3
Basom
CBA Research Paper
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is not a joking matter. It is the only law that enforces shame” (Lt. Dan Choi). In 1993 Congress passed the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy. The policy mandated discharging any openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual members of the army. The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy was removed on December 18th 2010, (huffingtonpost.com). Was it the correct choice to remove the U.S army’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy? Yes, it was. The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy was removed because it violated many rights such as the first, fifth, ninth, and fourteenth Amendments in the Constitution, the outcome of the court case of Air Force Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, and the reasons the policy was put into place were not as strong as the reasons for taking it away. The Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy did not follow the rights given to every citizen such as freedom of speech and expression, right to pursuit of happiness, and right to due process.

Serving in the military is a right that should not be denied to any minority, including those that are gay, lesbian, and bisexual. But this wasn’t the case, for 17 years the U.S army discharged any openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual member without a trial. “The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network reports that since 1993 more than 13,000 gay and lesbian troops have been fired with no trial or chance to defend themselves” (ajc.com). This violated four of the Amendments made in the Bill of Rights. The first Amendment, right to freedom of speech and expression. The “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy stopped gay’s, lesbians, and bisexual members from being open about their sexuality. This is a violation of their freedom of speech, (The Constitution). The freedom of speech is compromised as well as the danger of combining church and state. The fifth Amendment is violated because when a troop becomes openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual they are discharged from the army without a trial, violating their right to due process as it says in the fifth Amendment, (The Constitution). The ninth Amendment is right to pursuit of happiness. This is violated because the gay, lesbian, and bisexual troops can not be truly happy when they have to lie to everyone around them, (The Constitution). The fourteenth is then also violated because it says that all U.S citizens have the right to have all the rights listed in the Constitution, (The Constitution). Violated amendments are not the only things wrong with the U.S military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

In May 2008 a court case was brought to the U.S military attention, when a civilian from Idaho accused an U.S Air Force Lt of sexually assaulting him. The Lt in question was Victor Fehrenbach. He was a celebrated Air Force Lt. Fehrenbach has served in the army for 19 years, and if he was disbanded before serving for 20 years, then he would lose many benefit’s provided only to 20 year service men, (sldn.org). The accusation was dismissed as it had been proved false, but Fehrenbach told police during an interrogation that he did have consensual sex with the man in the privacy of his home, 60 miles from the base, (sldn.org). He did not know that military investigators were listening to his confession and obtained a recording of it. Fehrenbach’s lawyers argue he has never publicly said he's gay and kept his sexuality private as required under "don't ask, don't tell." They also argue Fehrenbach's conduct with a civilian in the privacy of his own home does not harm "morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion" in the military and that the government is unable to prove anything. The ruling in this court case was that Fehrenbach was innocent seeing as the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy was removed, (sldn.org).

72% of Americans supported the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t tell policy, (CNN.com). Why? Because the many cons of the policy outweigh the very few if any benefits. Disbanding the policy was the right thing to do given America’s struggle for equality. With the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy in place, not all soldiers were treated equally. They were denied their right to legal and social equality. This was because any openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual army member was disbanded from the military with no formal court hearing or chance to defend themselves. They were denied social equality by having to lie about their sexuality to all of those around them. Also, many U.S allies have laws that allow homosexuals to serve in their military’s. 25 countries allow gays, lesbians, and bisexual’s to serve openly, such as Canada, England, and Israel, (time.com). In Russia, homosexuals are only allowed to serve in the military during times of war. It can cost up to $50,000 to train one U.S solider. This money comes from taxpayers, and to have it just thrown away if the troop is found to be gay, lesbian, or bisexual is a horrible thing to do. It wastes money that could be used to help communities or other important situations. The reason’s for keeping the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy around for so long was that having open homosexuals in the army would decrease the moral of other soldiers, it goes against all religions and that would cause fighting between the troops, and many soldiers might get offended and leave the army. Now that the policy has been removed, these problems have been almost non-existent. In retrospect, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy was a harmful law. This policy allowed the immediate deportation out of the army for any homosexual member. This violated many rights given in the United States Constitution, it violated the ruling in the court case of Lt Col Fehrenbach, and there were more things wrong with the policy than right things. These arguments proved that the policy was a bad idea and it was then repealed on December 18th 2010. The removal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy is the first step to every person in the United States becoming treated equally.

Work Cited
“About “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” www.sldn.org. Web 9th Apr. 2011.
http://www.sldn.org/pages/about-dadt.
Ask, Ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Passes Senate 65-31.” Breaking News And Opinion on The Huffington Post. 18 Dec. 2010. Web 10 Apr. 2011
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/18/don’t-ask-don’t-tell-repeal_5_n_798636.html. “Decorated Aviator Files Suit to Block “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Discharge.” Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Web, 15. Apr. 2011.

http://www.sldn.org/pages/icnw7oxy2malqe.
Hulse, Carl. “Senate Repeals Ban Against Openly Gay Military Personnel.”
www.nytimes.com. 18 Dec. 2010. Web 10 Apr. 2011.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/19/us/politics/19cong.html.
“The Constitution of the United States” Amendment 1, Amendment 5, Amendment

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