The following is in response to the standard "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" form letter sent from Senator Chuck Grassley to Marine Corps Veteran Brett Edward Stout; Mr. Stout received the form letter in response to his appeal for Senator Grassley's support of S. 3065, the Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2010.
Dear Senator Grassley:
Thank you for responding to me. I appreciate hearing your objection to S. 3065, the Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2010, which would enable gays and lesbians serving in the military to do so openly. I request that you reconsider.
I was taken aback by your reference to Elaine Donnelly’s “Flag and General Officers for the Military” list of 1,100 retired high ranking military officers. A review of this list has revealed that many of the generals and admirals have denied ever signing this list, that many others have asked that their names be removed, and that several more were deceased at the time it is claimed they signed it. Additionally, very few of those on the list served under the current policy.
There has never been any empirical evidence suggesting that gays serving openly harms good order and discipline, unit cohesion, morale, or recruitment and retention. Gregory M. Harek Ph.D. testified in 1993 that “The research data shows that there is nothing about lesbians and gay men that makes them inherently unfit for military service, and there is nothing about heterosexuals that makes them inherently unable to work and live with gay people in close quarters.”
The current Department of Defense policy is based on a long-standing presupposition. An assumption, even a traditional one, is not good foundation for policy. Currently gays and lesbians serve in every branch, at every rank, and in every billet; many of them are serving openly. Knowing a servicemember is gay in no way negates the service they are already providing. While there are civilian behaviors that are not allowed under UCMJ, those behaviors are only disallowed specifically because they impede a unit’s efficacy. Being gay does not correlate to the other dischargeable offenses like murder, drug abuse, or desertion.
It is cause for concern that the military continues to actively recruit convicted felons, drug abusers, high school dropouts and individuals as old as 42, while simultaneously discharging highly competent men and women from our armed services who are gay or lesbian despite their intelligence, physical abilities, and leadership skills.
You aptly point out that our national security trumps popular opinion and issues of fairness. This current divisive law’s code of silence stands in direct conflict with the principles of honor and integrity the uniform stands for. This policy was the reason I did not reenlist. I could not ethically serve under a policy that stands in opposition to the ideals of the nation I pledged myself to defend. As a result, our military is without my mission-critical skills as a Russian linguist, weapons marksmanship instructor, and warrior in a critical time of war.
I look forward to your further comments on this matter.
Brett Edward Stout