I read today that the Pentagon's timetable for repeal of DADT is "several years" long. If this is true then their timetable does not live up to what the President promised in the State of the Union Address. In that speech the President said, "This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are." THIS YEAR he said. If repeal takes until 2012 to implement then it isn't happening THIS YEAR and the Pentagon is making a liar out of the President. What is more if repeal includes such ridiculous suggestions as having segregated showers for gay people or the ability to opt out of rooming with a gay person then the so called repeal is in fact no repeal at all. Imagine for a second if the YMCA or your local Bally's Total Fitness had separate showers for gay and for straights? That would be outrageous and totally unacceptable. Imagine as well if any of our nation's colleges allowed students to be able to opt out of rooming with a gay person or for that matter a Jewish person or a black person. That too would be totally unacceptable.
If I may, let me offer some advice to the Pentagon because clearly the fact that they haven't been around gay people for the past 16 years has affected their thinking. Here is what repeal should look like. The Pentagon will have a nondiscrimination policy regarding sexual orientation. That means gay people are allowed to serve openly in the military. It also means that gay people are allowed to eat, sleep, shower and fight alongside straight people. What is more, to live up to the President's promise, this change needs to happen in a year - not three years or seven years - but a year. This time next year Don't Ask, Don't Tell needs to be gone. Gay people should not be forced to wait any longer.
NOTE ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jacob Reitan has tried to sign up for the Armed Forces on three separate occasions and each time he has been denied due to his sexual orientation. His attempts to enlist were a part of the "Right to Serve" campaign, a nationwide effort to challenge "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" that Mr. Reitan founded.
You can view one of Mr. Reitan's attempts to enlist here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FI2HPV6lJM
You can read more about the Right to Serve campaign here: www.RightToServe.org
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