Letter: It's time to end 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

It is time to repeal the discriminatory, unfair and immoral policy known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in our military. This policy serves no useful purpose, and in fact harms military readiness and unit cohesion by expelling qualified personnel who are gay/lesbian for no reason other than their sexual orientation.

Some of these people serve critical functions - for instance, almost 75 individuals fluent in the critical language of Arabic have been expelled under DADT, and not been replaced, which harms our efforts in the Middle East.

DADT undermines unit cohesion and trust by forcing some of its members to lie about their personal lives in ways that straights do not. Moreover, more than 70 percent of troops do not think having gay people serving openly is an issue. More than 25 other nations, including many of our allies, allow openly gay troops to join their forces, and there have been absolutely ZERO negative repercussions. It is immoral to force people brave enough to join our military and defend our nation to hide who they are and deny them the personal and social support that heterosexual people get automatically.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Colin Powell all support repealing DADT. The Pentagon just issued its own report saying that there will be no harm to military readiness in getting rid of DADT. Nearly three quarters of Americans (including more than 60 percent of Republicans) support repeal.

Repeal DADT now.

Jan Emming