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Hill: Call Congress now on DADT

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Hill: Call Congress now on DADT

American Legion National Commander Clarence E. Hill issued a call to action today, urging members of the nation's largest veterans service organization to contact their congressional delegations immediately and urge them not to repeal the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy in a time of war. Some members of Congress have indicated they want the controversial policy regarding open homosexuality in the U.S. Armed Forces repealed before a DoD study on the matter can be completed at the end of this year.

"Many in Congress are unwilling to wait for the study to be complete," Hill wrote in a memo to the organization's national and state leadership, and Legislative Council. "The American Legion, by national resolution, supports the ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law and believes it has served the military well for the last 17 years. Moreover, we believe changing a major social policy in the middle of two wars would be a mistake and distraction. I have written to the President and Congress about our concerns. But they need to hear from you, today!

Call your representatives and senators toll-free at (877) 762-8762. There is no time to waste. Some in Congress are voting today."

Attached to Hill's call to action are letters from four Pentagon chiefs - Gen. James Conway, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps; Gen. George Casey, Army Chief of Staff; Adm. Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations; and Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff - urging members of Congress to allow the review process to complete before acting on DADT.

Hill quoted Gen. Casey's letter to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in the call to action. "I also believe that repealing the law before the completion of the review will be seen by the men and women of the Army as a reversal of our commitment to hear their views before moving forward," Gen. Casey wrote.

Gen. Conway echoed that opinion. "The value of surveying the thoughts of Marines and their families is that it signals to my Marines that their opinions matter."

The American Leion passed a resolution in the May 2010 National Executive Committee meetings calling for the law to remain in place at least until the DoD review is completed.

Go to the Burn Pit to read MOTHAX's perspective.

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canterj

June 4, 2010 - 10:09am

Ignorance can be bliss. There are already gay members of the Legion and I am one of them. I served in Vietnam and in a logistics capacity as a reservist during Desert Storm. I graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and served for 25 years - 9 active and 16 reserve. I retired 21 years after graduation as a CDR, just as my name was submitted to the CAPT selection board. An admiral friend told me that my fitness report history was the best he'd seen - besides his own :-) Contrary to stereotypical perceptions of gay men, I don't cross dress and never went on liberty in female attire. Some of my straight shipmates talked about how erotic they found dressing in female garb. I was Catholic Eucharistic Minister on my ship and remain committed to God. My life is blessed and I live in gratitude. At present I'm studying to become a minister. I'm in a monogamous relationship and have been for years. Our conversations and activities in relationship is 99% spiritual, 1% sexual.

msnodgrass

June 1, 2010 - 12:12pm

Just because the Legion and our Commander has taken a position on an issue does not warrant CDR Hill being called a "bigot," who has "hatred and prejudice" toward any group Our armed forces and society has been trying to deal with a new consciousness about homosexuality for 40 years now. REGARDLESS of one's opinion on DADT, shots like this are not helpful to the occasion. Oh, by the way, I am proud to say I have known Commander Hill as my close friend since 1960 (4th grade!), and his heart is nothing like what was described. Of course, there is always the possibility that Freethinker knows the Commander better than I do, now isn't there? --Chaplain, AL Post 16, Lynchburg VA

Freethinker

June 4, 2010 - 1:05pm

As you stated, Chaplain, you may well know the heart of Cdr Hill. Actually, I have no doubt he is a fine man in most aspects of his life. His career of dedicated service to our country is certainly nothing less than exemplary, but when one speaks, perception is everything. Here Cdr Hill appears to side with the old school on this issue and thus is retarding progress of unbiased acceptance and appreciation in today’s zeitgeist. “Bigot” may have been too strong a word, but 40 years is absolutely too long a time. How many more generations must suffer? Myself, I’m a contemporary of you and Cdr Hill, a Vietnam Vet, and straight, but through reason and study I have rebuffed these pious fraud teachings of the past.

Freethinker

June 1, 2010 - 2:16am

What makes you think that you haven’t already showered with a gay man? The odds are you have, and many times if you’ve been in the military, or just at a health club. And how many lawyers have you seen “crawl out of the woodwork” when a black man was “ordered to break the seal on his gas mask”? How about an Italian, an Asian, or even an atheist? You and Commander Hill can make up all the stories and excuses that you like to justify your prejudice, but really, just stop and try reason. The extremes you cite are never likely to happen. I’ve been around long enough to have heard these, and a plethora of other so-called “justifications”, that were touted to keep blacks, women, and numerous others from serving. They’re just people, yes, just like you.

WilliamFuzi

May 31, 2010 - 6:37am

There is a reason the military has run the way it does for the last 235 years. Because everyone is the same. You may look diferent, you may sound diferent, but in bootcamp you are all the same. I am just waiting for all of the lawyers crawling out of the woodwork. What do you think will happen when a openly gay soldier is orderded to break the seal on his gas mask to see if the air is clear. He will say they were discriminating against him because he is gay. What happens when he is told to take point. How long will it be before a soldier takes off has cammies and puts on a dress to go out on the town, and claims he is trans gendered. why don't we just start by removing the diferent bootcamps and have men and women in the same baracks, taking showers at the same time, and no doors on the bathroom stalls. Does that sound extreme to you? thats what you are doing if you have a gay man in the same baracks with a bunch of strait men. I would refuse to shower with openly gay men. Just saying.

Freethinker

May 27, 2010 - 11:02pm

The time has come for Commander Clarence E. Hill to resign and take his hatred and prejudice home with him. I find it incredible that a bigot like this could reach this level of responsibility. The American Legion is an honorable organization, not the KKK.

Marat B.

May 27, 2010 - 9:49pm

One cannot equate integration of blacks into the military with the homosexual question Homosexuality is a perversion, let alone a sin in the eyes of God ( there are those of us who still believe in God). Anyone who thinks this issue is not sufficiently important to demand the Legions attention is more than a little misguided, regardless of the religious aspects.

CrustyCPL

May 27, 2010 - 11:24pm

Marat: The comparison is very valid. Many folks before racial integration believed blacks and other "non-whites" were lesser humans, incapable of the same tasks as whites. History has proven that mindset entirely wrong. Having met - and become friends with - several gays over the years, I've come to the conclusion through my conversations with them that it's not something they "chose." It is part of who thy are, and nothing will change it. As far as the religious aspect you bring up: I respect your belief in God, but far too often I see those beliefs being used to promote fear, ignorance and bigotry, while suppressing freedom, intellectualism and talent. I believe that DADT, whether Legion likes it or not, is going away within a year or so. It was bound to happen eventually. I'm wondering how Legion will react when the first openly gay (post-DADT) vets come in to join. My hunch: Legion will make it as tough as possible. This could be interesting.

CrustyCPL

May 27, 2010 - 8:31pm

Having served in combat, all I have to say is this: When the s**t started flying, my immediate thoughts were not along the lines of, "I wonder what the guy/gal next to me does in their personal life?" Rather, all I cared about was that they could shoot, communicate, execute orders and pull me out of there if I (a straight man) was wounded. Similar platitudes were used against blacks and others 60-plus years ago, and we have seen that the military integrated (not that it was always smooth). As a Legion member, I cannot and will not support Commander Hill's stance on the DADT issue. The current policy has forced many otherwise-qualified people out of our military in a time of war. It's a waste of treasure and talent. Many other nations - notably Israel, the UK, Canada and even Russia - allow gays to serve openly, and I've yet to hear of any discipline or combat-effectiveness issues to arise out of those policies. DADT is wasteful and has to go.

nmcb40

June 3, 2010 - 10:16pm

I agree with the above completly. Bigotry of all types must end. It is a waste. The people who say to not change it in time of war have very wrong. Now is when we need everyone who is willing to serve, to serve. If I am willing to serve and even be nice to a bible thumper, they should be willing to serve with and be nice to people who believe differently.

Orrin Carpenter Jr

May 27, 2010 - 6:47pm

As a PUFL member of the American Legion, I support eliminating the policy of DADT. Honor, integrity and purpose provide the cohesive spirit necessary for us to succeed as a force.

Legionnaire8585

May 27, 2010 - 6:27pm

Once again I am in agreement with National Commander Clarence E. Hill, the Generals in the Army,Air Force, Marine Corps and the Navy Admiral that Congress should wait unit the study is complete. Why disturb the focus of our fighting men and women in uniform in the midst of two wars? That is one of the last things they need.

jellewis

May 27, 2010 - 6:25pm

I served honorably in the active military for 14 years, contributing with outstanding service, as a (closited) gay man. Having to hide who I am made my job extremely much more difficult. Having to work with the fear that I might be found out made for a very trying 14 years. I was not openly gay....(married with 2 children during that time). I was finally able to function as the person I am, in civilian life. I've had a very successful civilian career and a much happier life since discharge..I really liked the military, and would have stayed in for at least 20 years, had it not been for the "life in the closet" situation. Therefore, I can not agree with anything that might cause other young people to have the bad military experience that I had...Just because they happen to be gay. A Happy Veteran PUFL Legion Member.

Steve Finney

May 27, 2010 - 1:39pm

Doesn't the Legion have more important issues to concern itself with? I know National passed a resolution, but it is still misguided. Let the DOD and commanders make the call. Even though a statutory repeal could occur, no policy will be developed until after the review is complete in December and then it will rest with the decisions of DOD.

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