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Hill: Defense bill shouldn't touch DADT

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Hill: Defense bill shouldn't touch DADT
National Commander Clarence Hill wrote letters to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader John Boehner addressing the recent reports that 'don't ask, don't tell' might be amended.

In letters to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader John Boehner, American Legion National Commander Clarence Hill said The American Legion opposes repealing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) provision, an issue that has resurfaced with reports that members of the House might address the Clinton-era policy in the upcoming defense authorization bill.

"We feel strongly that the current policy has served the U.S. military well for 17 years and it would not be wise to make a major cultural change in the middle of two wars," Hill wrote. "Moreover, the Department of Defense has already directed a study on the policy and it would be premature to act before the commission conducting the study releases its findings."

The Legion is concerned that members of the House might seek an amendment to the FY11 defense authorization bill to repeal the law.

"Under current policy, men and women are already allowed to serve their country regardless of their sexual preference. Allowing homosexual members to announce their preference within the ranks could jeopardize the unit cohesion which is so essential to military success," said Hill, a retired U.S. Navy captain and veteran of the Gulf War.

"The military is a unique environment, in which DADT has worked well, without diminishing our nation's war-fighting capability," Hill continued. "Indeed, the core purpose of our military is to fight and win our nation's wars. Enacting any law that does not enhance the military's ability to accomplish that mission would be detrimental to the security of our nation. We believe that the repeal of DADT would be such an action."

Hill's letter to Pelosi

Hill's letter to Boehner

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MGM Innkeeper

May 25, 2010 - 12:34pm

I'm a 68 y/o gay vet and find it an affront to my American ideals to see this organization take such an antiquated and un-American stand against the repeal of DADT. We're ALL Americans, regardless of our sexual orientation, and if we want to give our lives for our country (as so GLBT citizens have done), then don't stop us and we could care less who you/we tell! The positions some of the leadership are taking make me think chilling thoughts of the KKK trying to keep black people "down".... I'm urging every one of my congressmen and senators to support the repeal of DADT - NOW!

JenHogg

May 24, 2010 - 5:42pm

Hill wrote: Enacting any law that does not enhance the military’s ability to accomplish that mission would be detrimental to the security of our nation. DADT and the law behind it DO NOT enhance the military's ability to accomplish its missions, so why isn't Hill supporting repeal? The only thing the law and policy accomplish is discrimination based on the misinformed opinions of people uncomfortable with gay service members. Thank you captjdrawls for speaking out about les bian baiting and blackmail. DADT allows and protects sexual assault and harassment. Is that what the Legion thinks is a good thing? I doubt many members would agree.

JenHogg

May 24, 2010 - 5:33pm

From the American Legion "About" page: The Legion stands not behind politics, but the issues and people that institute progress by focusing on veterans rights and quality of life. Every service member or vet personally affected by DADT knows this policy is not only shameful but hurtful. If the Legion doesn't intend to support all veterans they should say so. I do not want to continue to pay dues to an organization that thinks DADT "works". If by working he means "requiring LGBT service members and vets to lie, negatively effect their sense of self and deny them the same comforts straight service members and vets receive" then yes, it is working but we should all be ashamed of goals like that. I REALLY wish people who think DADT is working had to spend just ONE week living under it. Can you imagine the outrage if straight service members had to hide, lie and deny all public aspects of their sexuality and live in fear that every private aspect could be a discharge waiting to happen

NavyDoc8404

May 23, 2010 - 5:25pm

I am extremely upset. I do not appreciate the leadership of the legion using their national voice to represent my opinion, and those of the other members. One would think that the leaders of the largest veterans group would recognize their responsibility to gauge the opinion of their members before speaking as their representatives regarding such a politically touchy subject. I will not be renewing my membership, and I'm considering starting a tort action against the legion for misrepresenting me as a bigot!

AirforceVet

May 22, 2010 - 11:23am

As a 20 year gay Air Force veteran who served in Iraq, this is very disappointing. I've had to spend my entire career hiding and being afraid every day of being found out and kicked out of the service I love. Certain members of my unit know I am gay and I can assure you that they don't care. Anyone who thinks DADT is enforced as it was originally intended is a fool. One of my best friends was kicked out because her roommate read her personal mail and turned her in. We are losing good, hard working Americans who only want to wear the uniform and serve the country they love. I will not be renewing my membership to your organization.

Kadera

May 21, 2010 - 4:21pm

Integrity is one of the highest ideals of our servicemembers, and yet the provisions of DADT require them to lie about who they are. The services encourage family ties, because they give strength and stability to our fighting men and women. But for GLBT servicemembers, they are barred from entering into any relationships whatsoever. Supposedly knowing whether the person next to you is GLBT hurts morale and unit cohesion...but not knowing doesn't change the fact of who this person is. So it's okay to serve with gays and lesbians, but only if you don't know? News flash: *They* know. Unit cohesion and morale is already damaged, only we're all pretending it isn't so. Clarence Hill says that repealing DADT will hurt unit cohesion, but he says nothing about the fear, suspicion, and intimidation that exists today.

captjdrawls

May 21, 2010 - 3:50pm

As a Paid Up for Life Member, I am deeply disapponted by National Commander Hill's letter and the Legion's past Resolutions on this issue. The Legion is at its best when it supports all the troops and all veterans. The Legion is at its worst when it advocates for conservative social policies. After serving in Vietnam, I attended law school on the G.I. Bill. I have represented LGBT veterans facing discharge under DADT. I know first hand that the policy is applied without rhyme or reason and, for example, is disproportionately used on female servicemembers. The Pentagon has authorized (and then tried to suppress) several studies of DADT, all of them concluding on the evidence that the policy adversely affects national security. The essential flaw in the policy is that it subverts the chain of command by exposing higher ranks to blackmail or exposure by subordinates, particularly junior men threatening to expose senior women as lesbians if they don't sleep with the blackmailers.

layod

May 20, 2010 - 7:09pm

It's time to get rid of outmoded thinking. There have been sufficient studies done to show that serving troops are not concenred about someone's sexuality. They're smart enough to know that if someone is doing a good job, then they're doing a good job. Hanging on to DADT serves no credible purpose.

gayinmilitary

May 19, 2010 - 5:41pm

How does advocating for servicemembers to lie about their identity help unit cohesion? Is unit cohesion built upon lies? How does firing capable individuals with critical skills help us accomplish our mission of fighting terrorism around the globe? Why not just be honest and say that you are a bigot who doesn't like gay people? That's better than making up phony arguments with no factual basis.

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