This week is a big one for "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell." The White House forged a compromise and it was a brilliant move. The bill is a lighting rod for some lawmakers and adding it to the defense bill allows members of Congress to vote for it without having to single out a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal vote. Basically, as an amendment to the defense bill, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would be repealed as law. And the Pentagon would be able to implement the changes to allow gays to serve openly in the military. The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rule would remain in place until the military could make sure that serving openly in the military as a homosexual would be consistent with the standards of readiness, unit cohesion, recruitment and overall effectiveness.
Senator John McCain needs to get with the program. He asked military chiefs to provide him with a letter saying that they should not enact the law until the Pentagon study on this issue is completed in December. Most of the American people support allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the United States Military. This change in sentiment reflects the change in our society.
Senator McCain’s own daughter and wife were photographed with a white patch over their mouths and a “No on 8” for the California gay marriage campaign. (A ‘no’ vote was a yes to allowing gay marriage.) He has always been against allowing women to have any combat roles despite the fact that women have been flying combat missions for years. He is just plain out of step and out of date and trying to look tough for his primary challenge from J.D. Hayworth.
For those that say that the military is not part of the social change fabric in this country, I would like to remind them that the military has been at the forefront of change. In 1948 while segregation was still rampant, Truman integrated the armed services. Women have had increasing roles in war zones as well as flying combat missions. The military is the great leveler in our country. It is something we should be proud of and not run away from.
The anti-gay folks keep focusing on the showers and coming out parties. How many of these people have ever been to the local YMCA? Don’t gay men and lesbians use the showers there, too? As for huge coming out "events," when Canada allowed gays in the military to serve openly there were no "coming out events," no parties, just an end to lying.
Senator Nelson of Nebraska, no great liberal, recently said that he did not believe that most Nebraskans wanted to continue a policy that requires people to be deceptive and lie. He is right, it's time to change the policy to reflect America.
Ellen Ratner is Washington bureau chief for Talk Radio News Service and a Fox News contributor.
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Ellen Ratner joined FOX News Channel as a contributor in October 1997.