Letter to the Editor

Time to end 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Sunday, July 11, 2010

To the Editor:

As a 20-something, I hear so often that my generation is apathetic about the issues facing our world.

I don't deny it, it is often easier to ignore the things that go on in government. We spend more time on Facebook, on Twitter, than we do voicing our opinions. But that doesn't mean we don't have them.

Gay rights is the equal rights issue of my generation. I have grown up with friends who are gay. I've known them as people, not as a label and believe they deserve the same rights I take for granted.

The time for repeal is now and military leaders agree. Over the past few months, we've seen military leaders such as Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Gen. Colin Powell and Gen. David Petraeus line up in support of the repeal effort.

Not only do our military leaders support repeal, but the American public does too. A recent Quinnipiac poll shows that 57 percent of Americans believe that gays and lesbians should be able to serve openly in the armed forces.

To date, 13,500 service members, more than 800 of whom were specialists, have been discharged under this law, undermining our military readiness and compromising our national security in the process.

Americans recognize that on the battlefield, it does not matter whether a service member is lesbian, gay or straight. What matters is that a service member gets the job done.

Congress has the power to end this discriminatory law this year. Now the only question that remains is do they have the will? I urge Senator Bayh and Senator Lugar to do the right thing and support the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," now.

If I don't take the time to speak, I am no better than the stereotype of apathetic. I care -- if it wasn't for so many before me who fought for racial equality, I wouldn't live in the diverse world I am blessed to live in.

Don't my future children deserve to have the same gift? To live in a world where no one has to hide who they are, especially when they are laying their life on the line for our country?


Taylor Schaffer,

Terre Haute