The Pentagon may be changing their tune on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The Defense Department’s Cynthia O. Smith released a statement saying that though they’ve been booted from the service, gay patriots can still help defend the nation.
[Gays and lesbians] have the opportunity to continue to serve their nation and national security by putting their abilities to use by way of civilian employment with other Federal agencies, the Department of Defense, or in the private sector, such as with a government contractor.
Gay defender defenders Servicemembers Legal Defense Network points out that this statement’s the first time The Department of Defense has invited queers to help fight America’s so-called good fight.
SLDN director of communications Steve Ralls says,
In its new statement, Pentagon leaders clearly acknowledge that lesbian and gay Americans make important contributions to our national security and that our country is better off when their skills are employed, not turned away. As this new statement points out, lesbian and gay service members are welcome to return to the Department of Defense, as civilian employees, often doing the same job as during their uniformed careers, even after being fired under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Indeed, the National Security Agency, Department of State and Central Intelligence Agency – and even the Department of Defense – all welcome openly gay civilian employees. Our armed forces should do so as well.
Ralls also reminds us that The Pentagon, which once vehemently defended their discriminatory policy, has recently put the issue before Congress, thus pulling themselves out of the debate. With the Democratic presidential candidates all pushing for Don’t Ask’s repeal – as well as Representative Marty Meehan and other politico’s work – Don’t Ask may soon be a thing of the past. This, of course, would be great news for Jason Knight and Eric Alva, two of the most soldiers booted from service for being gay.