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12/02/2010

DADT repeal as a 'positive'

by Jeremy Hooper

In their reactions to the Pentagon report, opponents of Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal keep focusing on the minority percentages who said that changing the policy would produce positive effects or provide the military with added benefit. By which these anti-repeal folks mean to say that lifting the ban won't tangibly enhance the armed forces' fighting power, so therefore there's no reason to do so.

But the point these folks are missing is that "positive" is not really the goal of pro-equality activists. Yes, we who fight for inclusion unabashedly see 201012020847non-discrimination and basic fairness as positives. And yes, we'll see a repeal vote in the Senate as a major positive for American history. And yes, anything less than full repeal will be a negative. But at the end of the day, we don't really think that lifting DADT is going to create some new, Superman-like armed forces whose gay-initiated strength will allow our servicemembers to simply show up and lift an intimidating eyebrow rather than fire a weapon. While we absolutely think DADT repeal is a national security issue and that the discharges have weakened us greatly on both a service personnel and civilian level, we're not really claiming that repeal holds some amazing, on-the-ground positive that will be felt overnight. What we're saying is that bias has placed a contrived, offensive burden on this country -- the overdue lifting of bias will simply take us more level ground, so that maybe soon we can reach new heights.

The actual goal is benign, neutral, and (should be) non-partisan. The goal is to remove contrived controversies. The goal is to fulfill basic American promises, which shouldn't have ever been in question to begin with. The goal is to lift the negative that is discrimination. And the most prominent DADT repeal goal, as with most all other LGBT fights: To become just as boring as everyone else.

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