Sunday, December 19, 2010

Why This Peace Activist Celebrates the Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Flying Rainbow Flag
The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is but one step forward
in a long fight for civil rights for every human being.

Finally, the Senate has approved a bill repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. With an earlier positive House vote on the issue, the bill now goes to the desk of President Barack Obama, who’s promised to sign it immediately and end the discriminatory practice of preventing gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

Why would a peace activist care about this issue? Because people who want to see the end of conflict in the world don’t feel negatively about those people who truly want to serve their country, its citizens, and its best ideals. We simply want to encourage the political leaders to find more positive ways to accomplish their goals in the world than by killing people.

Standing for peace is not anti-military. In fact, the best thing that can be done for the troops and their families is to help make the world a place where there is no more armed conflict. A world in which military forces can perform positive functions to help people, such as aiding people stricken by natural disasters around the world; helping to build hospitals and schools overseas that are not in danger of being destroyed by enemy forces; bringing food, water, and medicine to people living in remote areas of the world.

Peace people also believe in respect for civil rights for everyone. That’s why restricting people from being able to choose military service, or any other employment, simply because of their sexual orientation is anathema to us. That’s why I take every opportunity to stand for full civil rights for all members of the LGBTQ community. DADT is merely one of the ways in which gay rights are being limited or denied.

So, now is the time to celebrate, but briefly. There is more work to be done to ensure that all human beings will be treated with respect, that their rights will not be denied.

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