The following is a note from NYSYD President, Kevin Lawrie.
The long awaited release of the Pentagon’s review on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, has affirmed Young Democrats’ position that every person deserves completely equal rights as one another, no matter what. The Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy is contradictory to our nation’s founding principles and has, to this point, been upheld by the “idea” that Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) serving alongside heterosexuals would jeopardize the security of our nation. The Pentagon’s report is yet another demonstration of a fact that has become abundantly clear throughout this country. Our leaders in national security and defense have spoken and now there are no more excuses; this policy must be repealed.
Many opponents of the policy hid behind the excuse of enforcing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell for national security reasons, the Pentagon review proved this to be false. The review states that 70% of the active service members, who participated in the poll, felt that repealing the policy and affording ALL soldiers the same rights would have a positive, mixed or no effect on their units. Secretary of Defense Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mullen both echoed this sentiment with a full endorsement of the repeal.
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We saw in the last century that there were some in political leadership as well as within the military and society in general, who believed that skin color defined your level of citizenry and therefore your civil rights. As a nation and society, we stood up and demanded equality; this time and this fight are no different. There were some within Congress who declared that racial integration of the armed services would somehow compromise our national security. Once again we watched those barriers fall as President Truman ordered the de-segregation of our armed services. As only America could, we adjusted. Our servicemen continued defending our nation without any notable disruption as an even larger, united, patriotic front.
Even more concerning than the policy itself, is that in this day and age, as military leaders and service members vociferously voice their support of a repeal, the hate and fear of change still runs deep through those who deter us from perfect justice without a justified reason. They will attempt to deny those willing to sacrifice their lives for us, basic civil rights. It is for this reason we must repeal the antiquated policy of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, not just because the Pentagon has indicated its support, but because, it’s next.
The culture of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell must be changed. We must work for a day when the concept of the closet is no longer in existence and, where we celebrate and affirm LGBT people. The next stop on the journey towards achieving a more perfect union will be the repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy.
New York is fortunate enough to have two Senators who have been tremendous leaders during this fight; let them know how many of us stand with them.
New York State Young Democrats