Posts Tagged ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’

PageOneQ: Army Sergeant Darren Manzella, profiled on 60 Minutes, has been let go under the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

Manzella has been twice deployed to Iraq since his enlistment in 2002. Military awards he has received during his service include the Combat Medical Badge. He also received the Barry Winchell Courage Award at the 16th Annual SLDN National Dinner in March of 2008.

“My sexual orientation certainly didn’t make a difference when I treated injuries and saved lives in the streets of Baghdad,” Manzella told SLDN. “It shouldn’t be a factor in allowing me to continue to serve.”

The 30-year-old told CBS correspondent Lesley Stahl in December 2007 that despite the policy, which mandates discharge of a servicemembers who are discovered to be gay, he served openly with the blessing of his colleagues and superiors. After receiving anonymous e-mails advising him to “turn down the flame,” Manzella turned to a commanding officer for help and came out to him in the process. Ultimately, after an investigation, “no evidence of homosexuality” was found, despite video and photographs of Manzella with his partner, and he was told to return to work.

“The discharge of battle-tested, talented service members like Sergeant Manzella weakens our military in a time of war,” said SLDN Communications Director Adam Ebbin. “National security requires that Congress lift the ban on gays in the military and allow commanders to judge troops on their qualifications, not their sexuality.”

Manzella was the first active duty servicemember serving in a war zone to speak with the media. It has been estimated that over 500 individuals serve openly in the United States military despite “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” suggesting selective enforcement of, and perhaps distaste for, the policy, and an unwillingness to sacrifice needed personnel.

New York Times: The Army and Air Force discharged a disproportionate number of women in 2007 under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prohibits openly gay people from serving in the military, according to Pentagon statistics gathered by an advocacy group.

While women make up 14 percent of Army personnel, 46 percent of those discharged under the policy last year were women. And while 20 percent of Air Force personnel are women, 49 percent of its discharges under the policy last year were women.

By comparison for 2006, about 35 percent of the Army’s discharges and 36 percent of the Air Force’s were women, according to the statistics.

The information was gathered under a Freedom of Information Act request by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a policy advocacy organization.

“Women make up 15 percent of the armed forces, so to find they represent nearly 50 percent of Army and Air Force discharges under ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is shocking,” said Aubrey Sarvis, the organization’s executive director. “Women in particular have been caught in the crosshairs of this counterproductive law.”

New York Times: The Army and Air Force discharged a disproportionate number of women in 2007 under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prohibits openly gay people from serving in the military, according to Pentagon statistics gathered by an advocacy group.

While women make up 14 percent of Army personnel, 46 percent of those discharged under the policy last year were women. And while 20 percent of Air Force personnel are women, 49 percent of its discharges under the policy last year were women.

By comparison for 2006, about 35 percent of the Army’s discharges and 36 percent of the Air Force’s were women, according to the statistics.

The information was gathered under a Freedom of Information Act request by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a policy advocacy organization.

“Women make up 15 percent of the armed forces, so to find they represent nearly 50 percent of Army and Air Force discharges under ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is shocking,” said Aubrey Sarvis, the organization’s executive director. “Women in particular have been caught in the crosshairs of this counterproductive law.”

The Washington Post‘s Jonathan Capeheart warns of the potential trouble with an Obama-Nunn ticket, seen as a significant problem with gay fundraisers over Nunn’s involvement in the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell controversy in 1993.

When Bill Clinton sought to keep his 1992 campaign promise to end the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, he met strong resistance in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill. Nunn, one of the most adamant opponents, led a series of hearings that were stacked against ending the prohibition. Critics noted that Nunn held more hearings about and spent more time on gays in the military than he had on the defense budget or even the Navy’s Tailhook sexual harassment scandal.

Already, the prospect of an Obama-Nunn ticket does not sit well with some prominent gay Democratic fundraisers. “It would without question irrevocably diminish my enthusiasm for the democratic ticket,” a longtime Clinton supporter told me in an e-mail. “Sam Nunn not only opposed [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people’s] rights to serve in the military, he viciously campaigned against it.”

Atlanta Journal-Consitution: Former Georgia senator Sam Nunn, who helped push through the 1993 “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that established the terms under which gays and lesbians could serve in the U.S. military, said Tuesday that it’s time to review the policy.

“I think [when] 15 years go by on any personnel policy, it’s appropriate to take another look at it — see how it’s working, ask the hard questions, hear from the military. Start with a Pentagon study,” Nunn said.

Atlanta Journal-Consitution: Former Georgia senator Sam Nunn, who helped push through the 1993 “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that established the terms under which gays and lesbians could serve in the U.S. military, said Tuesday that it’s time to review the policy.

“I think [when] 15 years go by on any personnel policy, it’s appropriate to take another look at it — see how it’s working, ask the hard questions, hear from the military. Start with a Pentagon study,” Nunn said.

Atlanta Journal-Consitution: Former Georgia senator Sam Nunn, who helped push through the 1993 “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that established the terms under which gays and lesbians could serve in the U.S. military, said Tuesday that it’s time to review the policy.

“I think [when] 15 years go by on any personnel policy, it’s appropriate to take another look at it — see how it’s working, ask the hard questions, hear from the military. Start with a Pentagon study,” Nunn said.