Still happening on President Obama's watch
It's time to bring this to the table, Mr. President.
As a candidate, Barack Obama spoke out strongly against the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy of banning gays and lesbians from serving openly in the Armed Forces. He promised a full repeal of the ban if he was elected. But President Obama seems to be backing down from this pledge. The White House now hedges on the issue, saying it supports changing the policy "in a sensible way."
What's clear to me, a gay man who served for four years in the military, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, is that the most sensible change would be a full repeal.
I was a line infantryman in the Army's Ranger regiment from 2000-04, earning a promotion to sergeant within three years. In that time, my platoon performed dozens of combat missions on the front lines. Our lives depended on complete mutual trust.
Several of my colleagues knew I was gay. We lived in the closest possible conditions. When there were showers, we showered together. When we were out overnight on the cold, bare mountains of Afghanistan, we slept huddled together for warmth. It should go without saying that there was nothing remotely sexual about these situations. We had uncomfortable experiences -- we were at war, after all -- but my buddies were never uncomfortable with me.