Dear Senator Chambliss:
I watched the live feed of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) hearing during today’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. Your comments filled me with shame that my Senator would continue to belittle and demean the service of gay and lesbian service members, many of whom are based right here in Georgia. During the war on terror, we have fired over 300 talented linguists (many of them fluent in Arabic) and medics. This has been done at a time of two wars when many service members have been forced into 3 or 4 deployments thanks to “stop loss” provisions. We need the service of every qualified American who is willing to serve, including the gay and lesbian Americans. To continue to have this law on the books is un-American, costly to the taxpayer (all that training, especially for linguists, is lost), and makes no sense when virtually ALL of our allies have openly gay and lesbian service members serving along side our American troops without a problem.
I understand there is no “constitutional right to serve” in the military. It takes a special person to serve successfully in our military, and sexual orientation should not be a bar. Gay and lesbian people serve in the military now with varying degrees of openness. In most units, if you spoke them with assurances of confidentially, everyone knows who the gay and lesbians are in the unit. Most don’t care. Even without DADT, good order can be maintained with regular discipline. Our allies have shown us that it makes no difference in morale, retention, or recruitment when openly gay and lesbian service members are allowed to serve. They should be under the same behavior restraints as heterosexual service members.
The old stereotypes about showers, sleeping quarters, etc is a red herring, and I suspect you know that. The notion that drag queens would try to serve is equally ridiculous. You won’t find the gay stereotypes rushing to sign for military service. Even if they did, they would never make it out of basic training. Secretary Gates, who was originally appointed by President Bush, has realized how outdated this law is, and that is needs to be repealed. I understand you wish to play to the bigotry that is inherent in Georgia regarding anything to do with gay and lesbian citizens. I would urge you to ultimately support repealing the DADT law so that the military can find a way to rationally and systematically implement the honorable service, without the lies that DADT demands, of gay and lesbian Americans who are otherwise eligible to defend our freedoms.
I don’t expect you to openly support repeal of DADT as I am not that naïve. However, it would be nice if you wouldn’t embarrass yourself by making nonsensical and bigoted arguments in public on this issue. I would ask that you simply remain silent, push the military to consider all the issues of implementing repeal, and vote “Aye” on the Defense Authorization Bill when it comes to a vote with DADT repeal attached to it.
Jason A. Cecil
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
After watching today's hearing live on the web, I knew I had to write MY United States Senator Saxby Chambliss about his remarks. Whether he likes it or not, he has gay and lesbian constituents both in and out of the armed forces. On most controversial issues, my two senators are die-hard Republicans, and I know that my voice doesn't matter to them, so I don't bother to contact them. Why waste my breath? But today, I put aside the likelihood that I'm wasting my time to write Saxby through his website. The following is the body of my letter: