The U.S. Senate voted Saturday to repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ ending a 17-year-old policy that has barred men and women from being openly gay while serving in the military.
The protocol has been criticized in the past, and both President Obama and top military officials such as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates have said that they stand behind the repeal in recent weeks. The policy has resulted in about 13,000 people being discharged from the U.S. armed forces since its inception, according to The Washington Post.
Freeman Condon (NHS ’14), a private cadet in Georgetown Army ROTC, said that he also agreed with the Senate’s decision to repeal the DADT policy. According to Condon, a strong factor in the Senate’s decision was the military leadership’s recommendation that the policy be repealed.
“The policy of DADT has been a sore point between many universities and ROTC detachments for some time, including the Hoya Battalion. I think that the policy’s repeal will allow a closer relationship between the administration and the detachments that will benefit both the battalion and the student body,” he said in an email.
Condon added that gays being allowed to join the army without hiding their sexual orientation will result in more people joining the armed forces.
“If ROTC detachments can now recruit from a broader pool of people, and those previously prohibited can now serve their country, it seems like a win-win to me, ” he said.
Kevin Mercer (COL ’11), publicity chair of the GU Pride board, said that the organization supports the repeal of the DADT policy and its stand against discrimination. Mercer also praised the work of students to end DADT.
“We would like to commend the work of many Georgetown students who have worked and interned with organizations such as [Human Rights Campaign] and Congress to end this discriminatory practice,” he said. “For college students specifically, it offers new opportunities in their campus lives, such as the ability to be a part of the ROTC.”
Top military officials in the Pentagon such as Gates have openly expressed support for the repeal. But some, like Army Chief of Staff George Casey, are opposed to the timing of the bill. Kevin Preskenis (COL ’12), the Georgetown University Republicans chief of staff, said that a policy change in the middle of war could be detrimental to the U.S. armed forces.
“In the midst of two wars, the timing seems inopportune to me seeing that the commandment of the Marine Corps and Army Chief of Staff George Casey both say that a repeal will undermine cohesion and add stress to an already stretched force,” he said in an email.”