Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Colonel, and a PFLAG Dad, Says Dump "Don't Ask"

Add another name to the growing list of military leaders who support repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." In today's Marietta Daily Journal, PFLAG supporter and retired Army Colonel Reuel Hamilton, Jr., calls for an end to the ban, writing that, "The time is overdue to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'"

"According to Col. Daniel Tepfer, USAF (Ret.), in a letter printed in the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News May 1, the military accepts convicted criminals," Colonel Hamilton writes. "He says the Army and Marine Corps grant 'moral waivers' allowing convicted persons of crimes including drug offenses, theft, sex crimes, and manslaughter to enlist, and such waivers nearly doubled from 2006 to 2007."

"Like Col. Tepfer, I am a retired colonel; and we're both members of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays," he continues. "One of my children is gay. During my active and Reserve Army career - before I knew my son was gay - I thought little about the policy nor whether there were gay persons in my unit or whether they should be allowed to serve. Since learning of my son's sexual orientation, joining PFLAG and educating myself on the issues, I realize how counter-productive the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy is. I'm certain that the Army Medical Department had and has many closeted gays. We'd have been crippled by their loss had they all 'come out' at the same time."

Colonel Hamilton joins respected military leaders like retired Joint Chiefs Chairman John Shalikashvili, and retired Army Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy - the Army's first 3-star, female General - in calling for an end to the law. Like them, Hamilton and Tepfer understand that excluding LGBT Americans from our armed forces hurts our national security, our commitment to equality and our families, too.

To read Colonel Hamilton's full letter, click here.

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