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What They’re Saying: Repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

A round-up of the overwhelming editorial support for repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell from every corner of the country.

After this week’s Pentagon report showing that a strong majority of America’s military men and women and their families are prepared to serve alongside Americans who are openly gay and lesbian, newspapers across the country have urged the Senate to step up and repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  Many have echoed the President’s remarks earlier this week, when he said, “With our nation at war and so many Americans serving on the front lines, our troops and their families deserve the certainty that can only come when an act of Congress ends this discriminatory policy once and for all.  The House of Representatives has already passed the necessary legislation.  Today I call on the Senate to act as soon as possible so I can sign this repeal into law this year and ensure that Americans who are willing to risk their lives for their country are treated fairly and equally.”

Here’s a roundup of some of the editorials.

Baltimore Sun:  No more excuses for don’t ask, don’t tell

“If the remaining congressional supporters of don’t ask, don’t tell are being honest when they say their primary concern is avoiding harm to the military, they should take Mr. Gates’ advice and vote for a repeal.”

Kansas City StarCongress should act on critical to-do list

“This policy doesn’t serve our national interests. It’s time for gay Americans to be allowed to serve openly.”

Chicago Sun-TimesPositive Steps on Gay Rights

“[A]n exhaustive Pentagon report found that U.S. soldiers can handle serving alongside gays, concluding that a repeal of the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy presents a low risk to the military’s effectiveness . . .  It’s now up to Congress to follow that lead. In the waning days of the lame-duck session, the Senate must act to repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’”

Austin American StatesmanCongress should be open-minded

“Congress should listen to the brass and the troops and repeal this antiquated, discriminatory policy.”

Miami HeraldRemove the ban: let them speak, serve

“At a time when the United States is waging two wars and keeps troops permanently in hot spots like South Korea, the military can ill afford to reject or boot out any able American who wants to serve the country. This should be the Senate’s guiding principle in repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’”

The OregonianThe Last Days of ‘Don’t Ask’

“History will surely look back at the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy as an awkward next-to-last stage before it rejected discrimination against openly gay service members. And one of the last markers in that stage was the Pentagon report released Tuesday that showed little practical harm would result if the military treated homosexual people the same way it treats heterosexual ones.  The only thing left is to formalize repeal, which means the Senate should act this month to end the outdated policy.”

The Sacramento Bee:  Pentagon study should clear way to end ‘don’t ask’

“What can opponents of ending the discriminatory, destructive "don’t ask, don’t tell" law possibly say now?  Their last, best defense for preventing gay Americans from openly serving in the military was blown apart Tuesday when the Pentagon said the ban could be lifted with minimal risk even during wartime, and that doing so would not cause any widespread or lasting disruption to readiness or unit cohesion."

Seattle TimesEnd the military ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ ban

“Gays have defended their country with honor and self-sacrifice for generations. Respect those who have served and those who serve now. End ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ and rely on the maturity of those who stepped forward to protect our nation to welcome and serve beside their openly gay colleagues.”

The ReporterNo more excuses, Senate Repeal ‘don’t ask, tell’

“It’s time for the Senate to put the welfare of those service members ahead of party politics and repeal the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ law.”

St. Louis Post-DispatchMcCain v. Pentagon/Public/Troops on gays in military

“The nation must be guided by its best instincts, not the fears and prejudices of a minority.”

The New York TimesThe Pentagon, Pursuing Justice

“It is shameful that Republican lawmakers are not as respectful of the values enunciated on Tuesday by Mr. Gates and Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who firmly supported eliminating what Mr. Gates called a ‘legally and morally fraught process.’”

Tacoma News Tribune:  Pentagon study provides ammo:  End ‘don’t ask’

“The Senate should take its cue from the military and vote to allow gays to serve their nation openly. They have fought and died to preserve Americans’ rights, and they should be able to freely exercise them.”

The Metrowest Daily:  Don’t ask, don’t tell, just repeal

“Senate Republicans must stop stonewalling on DADT repeal.  That applies especially to our own Sen. Scott Brown, who has played coy on the issue.  A member of the Armed Services Committee, Brown has refused to support repeal until the Pentagon study was complete.  Now that the troops have spoken, it’s time Brown showed the independence he promised, by bucking his party’s leaders and letting this bill come up for a vote.”

The Charleston Gazette:  Gays Getting Closer to Equality

“It takes courage to enlist in the military and face possible death in a war zone. Those who enter this service to their country deserve gratitude -- not persecution as undesirables.”

Palm Beach PostFinally, end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?”

“The military’s ban on gays and lesbians serving openly has been one of Washington’s white hot-button issues for nearly two decades. On Tuesday, we found out that among members of the armed forces it really isn’t a big deal.”

USA TodaySurvey Provides New Fodder for ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal

Ending "don’t ask, don’t tell" is long overdue. Change this momentous is best accomplished by orderly implementation after an open vote in Congress; senators have one last chance to make it so.

Honolulu AdvertiserRepeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

“The armed services of this country have adopted a code of conduct that’s supposed to guide the behavior of enlisted and commissioned members. On the top of a list of ‘ethical values’ is ‘honesty,’ defined in part as ‘being truthful, straightforward and candid.’ The code continues: ‘Truthfulness is required. Deceptions are usually easily uncovered. Lies erode credibility and undermine public confidence.’  How ironic it is that Congress is struggling with a proposal that would enable many members of the military to fulfill these high ideals.”

Los Angeles Times‘Don’t ask’ death knell?

“Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) must make repeal a priority. When he makes the case, the Pentagon report will provide him with chapter and verse.”

Louisville Courier-JournalThe Pentagon speaks

“The Senate, which has scheduled hearings on the report and the repeal for today and Friday, needs to avoid dawdling or slow-rolling a vote. Whatever they pass still will have to be considered by the House, which passed a version of the repeal earlier this year . . .  If it isn’t, bigotry will continue to hold sway in the military, and the country will continue to lose the considerable gifts of Lt. Choi and others like him. That is more than a tragedy. That is a disgrace.”

Washington PostPentagon report should quell fears on ending ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

“President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, support repeal, but some on Capitol Hill continue to be uncomfortable with a possible change. They should heed Mr. Gates’s warnings about the significant disruption that is likely to occur if the courts - rather than lawmakers and military officials - take the lead in dismantling the policy. More important, they should listen to the service members themselves.”

Concord MonitorScrap ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy

“The nation’s 17-year-old ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy was always demeaning and wrong, though perhaps marginally justifiable as a transitional step toward greater equality. But it is unconstitutional, and Congress should repeal it.”

Alaska Daily NewsDon’t ask:  Gays who serve with honor deserve honorable treatment

“Anyone who does his or her job with honor, respect and courage shouldn’t have to worry about getting the boot.”

The Macon TelegraphIt’s time to jettison don’t ask, don’t tell from military policy

“It’s time for Congress to rid the nation of this farce.”

The Daily RepublicIt’s time to end ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy

“It’s ridiculous that a person could hide his or her sexuality, serve with honor in a war overseas and win a pile of medals, and then say ‘I’m gay’ and be shown the door. Good soldiers don’t become bad soldiers by merely stating their sexual orientation.”

The Livingston DailySurvey supplies new fodder for ‘don’t ask’ repeal

“So a survey was taken, and the results are clear. Most in the armed forces aren’t bothered by gays in the military. It’s time that Washington lawmakers joined the 21st century.”

The Berkshire EagleAnti-gay policy crumbles

“The Pentagon study on gays in the military released Tuesday shatters what little was left of the flimsy arguments in favor of maintaining the abhorrent ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.”

Palm Beach Desert SunIt’s time to repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

“The vast majority of Americans believe this. The Pentagon study shows that most troops feel the same way. As the war on terror continues, the country needs all who are willing to serve.  Only a handful of countries ban gays from serving - Cuba, North Korea, Malaysia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. We should not follow those models of intolerance.”

San Francisco ChronicleEnd discrimination against gays in military

“The survey results should erase one of the major worries about gays in the military. Instead of grave doubts or intolerance, there is general acceptance when it comes to gays and lesbians in uniform. That’s a finding that should strengthen, not harm, this nation’s armed services. It also should move the Senate to approve a law that lets everyone serve.”

Seattle TimesEnd the military ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ ban

“Gays have defended their country with honor and self-sacrifice for generations. Respect those who have served and those who serve now. End ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ and rely on the maturity of those who stepped forward to protect our nation to welcome and serve beside their openly gay colleagues.”

Tom Gavin is Director of Media Affairs