Two news stories today highlight the stupidity and unfairness of our nation’s policy of barring gays from the military.
The first: The ACLU has filed a class-action suit against the Department of Defense. The DoD has decided to cut the "separation pay" for service members discharged because of homosexuality, in half.
You get separation pay if you’ve served honorably for six years or more.
So, should you serve in our nation’s armed forces for six YEARS, and should you be discovered to be GLBTQ, you may look forward not only to the injustice and humiliation of being discharged for no actual reason, but you’re going to get half the pay another honorably discharged member might.
This is a policy separate from Don’t Ask Don’t Tell itself. The Obama Administration’s Defense Department has simply decided to implement the separation pay cut all on its own. Contacted by the ACLU, the DoD refused to revise the policy.
Our President himself has stood before GLBTQ young people and told them their differences make them strong, valuable members of society. Yet when it comes to service, if you’re gay, you’re not exactly "honorable" – you get half the money as the "honorably" discharged. Your differences are so UNvalued that you get a fifty percent pay cut. This is adding injury to injury for GLBTQ individuals who have honorably served our nation.
MEANWHILE, the Washington Post reports that the Pentagon’s study group has found that lifting the ban would have minimal risk for current war efforts. Seventy percent of servicemembers basically answered "Meh" when asked if having gays serve openly would disrupt their work.
The report just supports what we already knew: the policy that GLBTQ individuals are unfit to serve hurts our GLBTQ young people and it hurts our military.
We join the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network in honoring all veterans. We urge Congress to end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Obama administration to reverse discriminatory policies piggybacked onto DADT. Anything less is a betrayal of those who are willing to fight and die for our country.