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What did you think of the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on December 23, 2010

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Photo of Dave Spears

“It doesn’t matter to me. I think it’s good to know what people’s preferences are rather than it being a surprise.”

Photo of Tori Katherman

“It’s about time. It’s long overdue. It was a ridiculous policy to begin with.”

Photo of John Bullock

“I’m in favor of the repeal because I think integrity, courage, honor and similar values have nothing to do with sexual preference. If they are willing to give up their lives for us, it’s the least we can do.”

Photo of Marie Adams

“I think they make a big deal about it. War is horrible no matter who or what you are. They should focus more on the war and bringing everyone home safely.”


H_Lecter 7 years, 4 months ago

I'm looking forward to the producers of Avenue Q turning this into a musical.

pace 7 years, 4 months ago

I love democracy, I consider the repeal of 'Don't ask, don't tell, another hurdle we have jumped in building a stronger democracy. We are a country, stronger if we don't divide our-self by hate. We don't have to like each other but we should respect the persons.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 4 months ago

I think we've come a long way from the Stonewall and White Night riots and the murders of Harvey Milk and Matthew Shepherd.

Sean Livingstone 7 years, 4 months ago

If "don't know, don't care"... it is fine. But if they know, you're then "Gone"... from the military. That's the difference.

missmia 7 years, 4 months ago

which is a victory for all the world, really!

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 4 months ago

Glad to see a stop to the government asking folks to lie about who they really are. Another hurdle jumped on the path to equality for all!

JustNoticed 7 years, 4 months ago

Why don't you stop quoting Red Skelton with every damn post?

slowplay 7 years, 4 months ago

He's a comedian, do you expect him to quote Heschel or Lao Tzu? "Wonder rather than doubt is the root of knowledge”

Fossick 7 years, 4 months ago

It would be difficult to think of an issue about which I care less.

beatrice 7 years, 4 months ago

So is it the military for which you do not care, or is it gays being allowed to live their lives without hiding that doesn't concern you? Or do you just simply not have empathy for others?

Liberty275 7 years, 4 months ago

Maybe he/she thinks it's a non-issue because it doesn't matter what consenting adults do with each other in private.

Now if they would just legalize drugs and make it legal to smoke a joint while on R&R.

Also, you don't need empathy to keep your nose out of other people's private lives.

Fossick 7 years, 4 months ago

Or it could be that it's simply not going to affect the military in any meaningful way.

beatrice 7 years, 4 months ago

It won't affect the military, but it will affect the individuals who no longer need to live a lie. Sorry you don't care about such things.

Fossick 7 years, 4 months ago

No one needed to live a lie until they somehow caught homosexuality after they enlisted. If you were gay and enlisted anyway knowing it was against the rules, in what way are you a victim? The lie is your own.

Sorry, I treat soldiers as adults, responsible for their own decisions.

Fossick 7 years, 4 months ago

Correct, I was shorthanding to make a point, which remains. If you knew the rules going in, you agree to them by putting on the uniform and by cashing your paycheck. Therefore in no sense does the gay soldier 'need to live a lie,' he needs to live up to his agreement.

beatrice 7 years, 4 months ago

Silly argument. Just because someone agrees to the rules, it doesn't mean they aren't living a lie. Never attending a function with your partner if you have one, never holding hands while out shopping, never being able to mention your partner, etc.... is all about living a lie. Just because you agree to live that lie doesn't mean it isn't a lie. This is why, for those of us who care about this topic and have empathy for others, are glad to see the old rule done away with. If you cared at all about this topic you might appreciate how it affected real people and individuals lives.

Fossick 7 years, 4 months ago

No, you said "need to live a lie," as if this was forced on them against their will. I don't doubt the gay serviceman is living a lie, but it's his lie and no one else's. He attached the lie to the uniform when he put the uniform on. Is it that big a surprise to you that some people treat gay servicemen like adults who are expected to live with the consequences of their free and informed choices as long as they cash their paychecks?

"Those of us who care" - I know, I know. For many this issue is really about their feelings about themselves. To them the gay serviceman is a mere mascot, a manufactured icon to be displayed before a crowd from whom they desire to receive praise for their own superhuman empathy.

beatrice 7 years, 4 months ago

So the choice was not to serve, or live the lie. Gee, great choice. I guess blacks in the 1950s shouldn't have complained about having to ride in the back of the bus either, since they chose to take the bus in the first place. They knew the rules when they got on that bus, so what was the problem, right?

The gay soldier is not at all like a mascot as you claim, although I'll agree that the phrase "gays in the military" does get batted around as if it represents a mass thing rather than actual people serving their country. However, they are real individuals living real lives, including one close friend of mine who had to leave the military in order to marry. That might be difficult for you to see how this all affects actual people since, as you claim, you truly couldn't care less. You see, it isn't about superhuman empathy or my feelings about myself, as you state, just simple empathy for others. Most of us are capable of this feeling. You should try it some time.

Alas, that likely will not be possible for you since you find it "difficult to think of an issue about which I care less." You are the one who can't see the individuals for who they are because you don't care. If you could, you might have a touch of empathy ... at least just a little.

Fossick 7 years, 4 months ago

"So the choice was not to serve, or live the lie. Gee, great choice."

It can be, and it's no different than the choice someone makes to join the priesthood. And it's not even much different than the choice someone makes to get married; I mean, just think of the billions of men or women one must give up in order to remain faithful to one's spouse for a lifetime. At least military service need last only last a few years.

The difference is that when adults get married and then renege on their vows, we call that by its correct name - cheating - and if they live that lie they neither deserve nor receive sympathy. And we expect from priests and nuns and monks and lamas that they will refrain from living a lie - we expect that they will keep their vows. We expect teachers to restrain themselves, even with adult students. Not having sex with certain people goes with a lot of choices one can make in life. So your friend had to choose between serving and getting married - it's so sad that we can't have everything, isn't it? It's either a real tragedy that one cannot serve honorably while failing to fulfill one's vows, or it's a simple matter of what words mean.

But I was perfectly correct when I said that it was about your feelings, for you have brought them up again, as if your feelings ought to be the determinant factor in national military policy. Perhaps you would just as soon retroactively change marriage vows for those who promised to forsake all others and then discover that they cannot be faithful to their spouse and ride the bang bus at the same time? We wouldn't want them to have to live a lie, would we?

Fossick 7 years, 4 months ago

Well, it took a while, but I finally stumbled across an issue that I care less about than whether DADT is repealed: whether the Catholic Church repeals its celibacy policy*. And for the same reason.

But I wonder, do you have the same amount of empathy for priests who are "forced to live a lie" because their vows are hard to keep?

If not, you'll understand my position perfectly. If so, rest assured I will understand yours.

  • I care less because I'm not Catholic, so it's more akin to whether the Canadian army has a DADT policy..

beatrice 7 years, 3 months ago

The point that you don't seem to care for is that you are putting restrictions on only some people -- gay people. They are the ones who were told they could not let others know about their sexual orientation, introduce their partner, be careful with their pronouns, etc.... Straights on the other hand were not required to do the same. Less than equal is a problem that calls for action, and empathy by others is what it takes at times to make things happen. Without empathy, the majority would always benefit by all rules.

Military and religious service are not the same. Priests do have the option of joining another religion if they choose, but it isn't like there are alternative militaries for Americans to join.

Of course, all the people who don't care or think they should have just dealt with it are on the wrong side of this issue. It is passed, signed, and will soon be matter of practice that DADT is dead. So, feel free to go about not caring some more. Thankfully, others do care and they care enough to do something about it.

Fossick 7 years, 3 months ago

"Priests do have the option of joining another religion if they choose"

So you don't care that priests and nuns have only the option of giving up what is admittedly the most important thing in their life (else they would not wish to be a priest or nun) or to live a lie? That's pretty harsh. You should try empathy some time.

TopJayhawk 7 years, 3 months ago

then don't sign up Bea,. His point is valid, you on the other hand are just being cranky today,.

beatrice 7 years, 3 months ago

So if you don't like riding in the back of the bus, just don't take the bus. What could possibly be the problem?

Something like that?

Fossick 7 years, 4 months ago

Are those the only choices? They seem rather leading.

Bob Burton 7 years, 4 months ago

Sure glad this does not apply to the National Guards..

infidel 7 years, 4 months ago

It most certainly apply to the National Guard, they have to follow the same rules as the rest of military.

booyalab 7 years, 4 months ago

Are you in the National Guards? Because, objectively speaking, I think the outcome would be worse for the Marines.

infidel 7 years, 4 months ago

I was read the directive from General Casey, 2 days ago, as a national guard soldier. Yes it does apply to all national guard units.

Bob Burton 7 years, 4 months ago

The National Guard is a state unit not a federal unit.. I think the law was for the US military & not the states..

tew76 7 years, 4 months ago

Umm... It's called The NATIONAL Guard.

Adrienne Sanders 7 years, 4 months ago

Um, that's not "special status" that they want. It's the same status as everyone else, to not have to keep their sexuality a secret.

akuna 7 years, 4 months ago

Ummmm... I don't think this administration is ignoring the economy. He has his economics experts working on that problem. And they've made significant in-roads. Not enough but dramatic improvements.

I am guessing the President hasn't spent much time on repealing DADT other than to tell someone to get it done and receive occasional updates. And he's not pursuing a political agenda per se, he is fulfilling campaign promises. Thanks President Obama. We are a better Nation due to the repeal of this horrible law.

beatrice 7 years, 4 months ago

I've said it elsewhere, but what this shows is that social conservatives are once again on the wrong side of history.

booyalab 7 years, 4 months ago

Only time will tell. Do you consider radical muslims to be socially conservative or liberal?

Kirk Larson 7 years, 4 months ago

Uh, duh. Religious hardliners are by definition socially conservative.

Liberty275 7 years, 4 months ago

Church of Satan doesn't agree. Neither do Buddhists.

Kirk Larson 7 years, 4 months ago

Of course, Satan is a conservative. Buddhism is not technically a religion as it has no deity to speak of. Anyone who believes his religion trumps other peoples' beliefs and is allowed to kill for them is conservative. Liberalism, by definition, allows people to practice whatever beliefs one wants provided such practice does not infringe on the rights of others

Liberty275 7 years, 4 months ago

"Of course, Satan is a conservative."

LOL. Satan is a figment of imagination. The Church of Satan is secular humanist and given to indulgence. If I were a sheep, I'd be a satanist.

"Buddhism is not technically a religion as it has no deity to speak of"

You don't need a deity for a religion. All you need is a belief system.

"Liberalism, by definition, allows people to practice whatever beliefs one wants provided such practice does not infringe on the rights of others"

Maybe in 1920. What you are describing is libertarianism which was called liberalism early last century. The current group identified as "liberal" are merely left-wingers as intolerant of beliefs they don't like as any right wing group. The only difference between the left and the right are the causes. The means and practices of both sides are equally dictatorial and repressive.

Read the first online reply to the poll. That is a fine example of just how "tolerant" the left is. Some people disagree with the first poster, that makes them "horrible, horrible people".

Kirk Larson 7 years, 3 months ago

"Read the first online reply to the poll. That is a fine example of just how "tolerant" the left is."

Yes, homophobes are horrible, horrible people when their personal aversion to a trait that has been part of humanity for our entire history is used as a justification to make some people second class citizens; to deny them employment, forbid them from service, bully them, beat them, crucify them on a Wyoming fence. Just horrible.

booyalab 7 years, 4 months ago

Getting into the military was never a "right", until now...for gay people.

mickeyrat 7 years, 4 months ago

It's called "the Right to Bear Arms."

Liberty275 7 years, 4 months ago

You do realize the right to bear arms has nothing to do with the military, right?

Kirk Larson 7 years, 3 months ago

Other than that "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State" stuff.

Peacemaker452 7 years, 3 months ago

Still clinging to the wholly discredited “collective right” theory?

Kirk Larson 7 years, 3 months ago

While not "wholly" discredited, just saying it's incorrect to say, as glib275 does, that the two have "nothing to do" with one another.

infidel 7 years, 4 months ago

I am currently on my third tour as a deployed National Guard member. I care more about a persons ability to shoot, move, communicate and do their job, than who they are sleeping with. There have always been gays and lesbians in the military, now they can say so without being discharged.

As our 1SG put it. In the past, women, blacks and other minority's were not able to be in the military... 40 years ago I could not have been your 1SG ... we will adapt to this change as the professionals we are.

Fossick 7 years, 4 months ago

"we will adapt to this change as the professionals we are."

Exactly. Good on you, sir, er, First Sergeant.

blindrabbit 7 years, 4 months ago

I served; the Navy has always been more tolerant than the other services. Keep in mind that with the all-volunteer service, the pool of people serving has changed somewhat. The Services have lowered the standards somewhat so as to meet their recruitment quotas; especially true for Army and Marine Corps. This coupled with the fact that many recruits come fro rural and especially from Southern latitudes; their exposure to more progressive attitudes about sexual orientation is oftentimes lacking. Also, the military whips up the "holy Christian" mantra about homosexuality ; read about religious discrimination issues at the Air Force Academy to get a flavor.

Anyway, all of this intolerance has biased the in-military survey that indicated that there might be major issues.. In reality the repeal will be no big deal once the bigots are convinced.

Randall Barnes 7 years, 4 months ago

So when is the military gonna issue pink camo ? mind over matter.

Terry Sexton 7 years, 4 months ago

pink camo? when the enemy starts wearing rose colored glasses.

deec 7 years, 4 months ago

Or they start fighting battles in the Barbie aisle

i_have_only_valid_opinions 7 years, 4 months ago

I think it's absurd to believe that a gay person cannot contribute to military efforts as anyone else does. However, isn't shower time like "free porn" for them? If gender preference doesn't matter in the military, shouldn't I be able to shower with the women? After all, it's like a man being attracted to a man. No one can argue that! I think the answer is "unisex" everything. Open showers, bathrooms, quarters, everything.

beatrice 7 years, 4 months ago

Simple nudity in a shower now equals pornography? Either you have no understanding of human sexuality or you watch the dullest pornography in the world.

Liberty275 7 years, 4 months ago

"shouldn't I be able to shower with the women? "

That's the kind of thinking that makes America great!

Terry Sexton 7 years, 4 months ago

shower time like "free porn?" be able to shower with the women? always lookin' for that edge, eh, valid?
that 'free porn' crack, I tell ya...have you ever actually met a gay person?

50YearResident 7 years, 4 months ago

If you have not served in the US Military your opinion does not count. You can not comment about something that you know nothing about. You have had to be there to form an opinion. This comment is for all you non-military posters.

TopJayhawk 7 years, 3 months ago

hitme So fifty yr does not share the same opinion that you do so you belittle and berate him. so typical.
What was your rank bigshot? My brother disagrees with you. He was a full bull. Is that enough for you hot shot? And stop putting down those that disagree with you. With your attitude towards the enlisted, you were probably a terrible Officer.

Kirk Larson 7 years, 4 months ago

Sorry, but in America, the military is run by civilian authority. Non-military opinions as to what the military should be doing are perfectly valid and even necessary to avoid a military take-over. The office of Commander in Chief is a civilian position, not some tin-pot Generalissimo.

deec 7 years, 4 months ago

What about civilian employees of the military? Do they get to comment? How about immediate family members who had to move every year or two due to reassignment? Military contractors? Retired? What if you got kicked out of the military due to being gay? Do you have to have be an officer? Draftee? What if you got kicked out in boot camp?

Scotchguard 7 years, 4 months ago

Sorry, but as the taxpayers who fund the military, the opinions of those with no prior military service should count....unless you military people want to start working without pay.

SgtSkull 7 years, 4 months ago

They have no business being in the Infantry. I can see them being a REMF though.

Jeremiah Jefferson 7 years, 4 months ago

Im gona be the odd man out and say "don't ask, don't tell" should still stand. I can say that because I have had the privilige of serving in the military. But because the morons in congress have decided against it, I say let the gays serve. Let them go see what that strange box is doing in the middle of the road deep inside Iraq and Afghanistan. Let them be the first one to enter and clear a house or other urban dwelling lmfao. They can also be the first to enter a dark tunnel in hopes of flushing the enemy. Heck, this new policy might just save the lives of hundreds of great soldiers, marines, airmen and navy personel. Why didn't someone think of this sooner?

Scotchguard 7 years, 4 months ago

They're already doing all of those things, including dying for their country and being great soldiers, marines, airmen and navy personnel. The only difference is that now they won't be hiding the fact that they're gay.

Jeremiah Jefferson 7 years, 4 months ago

I bet the number of code reds and blanket parties sky rocket lmfao

SgtSkull 7 years, 4 months ago

Never served our Country in the Military I see.

Robert Marble 7 years, 4 months ago

I've got a mixed opinion on this- and I'll preface it by saying I'm an Army Veteran & NCO. I'm certainly no fan of the homos and find the concept rather disgusting, but that's just personal opinion. I don't think their sexual orientation should be any reason to discriminate as long as they do their job, same as everyone else...I also consider the bible types disgusting as well, but as long as they pull their weight I can tolerate them too. The main concerns I have are with how the implementation will proceed. The Military can occasionally be overzealous with implementation of new policies, especially when they're related to these high profile social issues. Unfortunately there will likely be many service members who will be 'made an example of' in the process of implementing this change. It will be terrible to see good Soldiers being dragged through UCMJ action simply for displaying the slightest negativity towards the new policy, but unfortunately it will happen....and the living arrangement situation should be evaluated. As someone said earlier on this thread, having to live in a crowded barracks sharing rooms & shower facilities are fact of Military life. Having personnel who could have sexual attractions to their roomates will cause problems; it's no different than allowing male personnel bunk & shower with the females. So that needs to be evaluated carefully.. all in all, if a homosexual is willing to serve their country honorably then they should be allowed to enlist...

amesn 7 years, 4 months ago

Wow...the bigots are out in full force tonight! Why do people always stereotype all gay men to be extremely one commenter suggested 'bringing out the pink camo' I have several gay friends and only half might actually fit one of these bigoted stereotype. My friend Aaron is built like a brick sht house, likes to fish, watches football and basketball religiously AND drives a pick-up! And no its not pink! How many of you have NEVER spoken of your spouse in the work place? I think most of us can say we have probably at one time or another made small talk with a fellow employee relaying the events of your evening with your spouse-made dinner, watched movie, etc. Can you imagine not being able to include your significant other in office get togethers-xmas parties, company picnics, potlucks, whatever it is you do...its really sad that the homophobes believe that gays want to use this as an opportunity to throw their lifestyle in their faces. They assume that they will begin to indulge sordid details to anyone and everyone and omg he just looked at me I think he's hitting on me! Puh-lease! Heterosexual men are the digusting pigs who enjoy bragging about their drunken conquests the weekend before, not the gays!

amesn 7 years, 4 months ago

I also have a question for the military reps on this thread....what was the whole purpose of DADT in the first place?

denak 7 years, 4 months ago

The whole purpose was to stop the wholesale discrimination against homosexuals. Before 1993, a person could be discharged for the mere suspicion of being gay. DADT was suppose to be a compromise. It was suppose to stop the witch hunting that was going on and was to implement a more judicial way to go about discharging an individual. Unfortunately, for over 13, 000 service members it didn't matter.

My personal opinion is that the repeal is a good thing for the military. And for what it is worth, not that it should matter, I am heterosexual, a former Marine and a NCO. I happen to have a little more faith in our men and women in the military. They will rise to the occasion and serve with their homosexual counterparts with the same professionalism that they serve with other minorities. Will there be some service members who make an issue of this. Yes, of course, just like there are those that commit crimes against minorities or women. But the answer is not to discriminate against the victim or the group that he or she belongs to but to prosecute the offender. As for the whole argument that homosexuals will be checking out the heterosexual men in the showers, I highly doubt it. Granted I was in the Marines many years ago, but once a person is out in the fleet, they don't shower with anyone else. They have a barracks room that has its own individual bathroom (unless it is connected to the next room) and a shower that has either a curtain or a door on it. And if I remember correctly, even the toilet has a door on it. If it creeps you out that much, just get dressed in the stall.

I think it is ridiculous that people has such an irrational fear of homosexuals. Do you really think that the repeal is going to unleash this wild sexual frenzy where all the gay men are going to start raping the heterosexual men? They weren't doing it before and they won't now.

And when all is said and done, if you are that repulsed by the idea of serving with a gay service member, then don't join the military. If you can't put the mission before your beliefs, then you should go elsewhere.

SgtSkull 7 years, 4 months ago

Then I guess things have changed since I was in. Are you National guard or RA.

BorderRuffian 7 years, 4 months ago

Wasn't DADT the love child of former POTUS William Jefferson (Slick Willy) Clinton, the entirely-without-morals-or-ethics poster boy of the Demolibs who are now praising Obiwan Kabama for overturning it? Besides, didn't Hillary stray over the line back in her hippy days?

deec 7 years, 4 months ago

Unfortunately, it was. The "entirely without morals" is a little strong, At least he didn't knock up his mistress like Reagan, or serve his wife divorce papers while she was recovering from cancer surgery so he could marry his mistress, like the Newt. Clinton didn't troll airport bathrooms for anonymous encounters like that one GOP dude.a few years ago or...well, you get the idea.

slowplay 7 years, 4 months ago

"Obiwan Kabama.... Are you in third grade or just have a third grade education? Most adults grow out of name calling around the age of ten.

TopJayhawk 7 years, 3 months ago

So it was all third graders who name called Bush all those yrs? It was okay then?

slowplay 7 years, 3 months ago

Yes, and no. Do you expect people to respect your point of view when you emphasize childish retorts? Because my political ideals are different than yours, does that justify juvenile insults? I was raised to respect the office of the Presidency yet I still have the freedom to criticize and work for change.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 7 years, 4 months ago

Since the year 1492, the military has allowed nudity and ixnayed "fraternization". So it is written. So shall it be done.

Make up whatever story you want. It should make no difference. If it does, then it is a separate problem.

camper 7 years, 4 months ago

Much to do about nothing. There has always been a percentage, and it probably has not changed much over centuries. "At the end of the day" most men will always prefer women, and most women will always prefer men. This is the way it is always gonna be. Because there is a minority who have a different preference is really no problem and no care of mine. It does not worry me in the least, and I hardly think the change in policy will amount to a hill of beans one way or the other.

TopJayhawk 7 years, 3 months ago

tori. What is long overdue is you getting a job.

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