(Gay) Pride & Patriotism:
A Cover Story by Scott Freeman
At Creative Loafing

TOPIC: gay rights, don't-ask-don't-tell

Here's a terrific article on the US military’s painful "don't ask, don't tell" policy, by Scott Freeman at Creative Loafing (Atlanta), including some interview comments from Stephen Benjamin (recent former Arabic translator for the Navy, recent op-ed contributor to The New York Times: Don't Ask, Don't Translate, and recent guest on "The Colbert Report") and Danny Ingram (described as "one of the first gays kicked out of the Army under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' ").

Along with some important personal stories and history of gays in the military, Freeman also has some sobering number for us:

In the 15 years since the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law was put in place, an estimated 12,000 gay, lesbian and transgendered soldiers have been forcibly discharged.

"'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' has been an expensive proposition," says [Atlanta lawyer Jeff] Cleghorn, who sits on the board of directors of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. He points to a study by the University of California that determined the law has cost the military $363 million over the past 10 years. "Unfortunately, the military is not impressed by the numbers," he says.

Cleghorn's confident "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" will soon be repealed. According to the Pew Research Center, 52 percent of Americans supported removing the ban on gays in 1994 and 45 percent thought the ban should be continued. A recent Gallup poll showed 79 percent now support allowing gays to openly serve. And numerous other countries – including Great Britain, Australia, Canada and Israel – no longer have bans.

Freeman's article is a worthwhile read.

Related References

American Veterans for Equal Rights, http://aver.us/aver/

American Veterans for Equal Rights (Georgia Chapter), http://www.avergeorgia.org/

Freeman, Simon (7/02/2008). Pride & patriotism: The fight for the right to serve. Published online and accessed 7/03/2008 at web site http://atlanta.creativeloafing.com/gyrobase/pride_amp_patriotism/Content?oid=508559