Thursday, January 8, 2009

Wire: Obama Expected to Openly Welcome Gays into US Military

According to an AFP news report written by Daphne Benoit published Wednesday, the U.S. armed forces under Barack Obama is expected to give homosexuals the same welcome as heterosexuals.

President Clinton's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," policy allowed gays to remain in the military so long as they did not reveal their sexual orientation.

Obama has pledged to change the current law.

"The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Discrimination should be prohibited," reads an entry on Obama's president-elect transition Web site.

A recent poll of active duty servicemembers by the Military Times points to Obama's lack of leaderships experience, particularly when it comes to matters involving the military, to explain U.S. troops' general pessimism and wariness of the president-elect.

Democratic lawmaker Ellen Tauscher from California is the lead sponsor in the House of Representatives of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act (MREA) which would replace "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

A poll of some 2,000 active duty military taken in December by the Military Times found that 58 percent opposed the policy of non-discrimination against homosexuals. Twenty-nine percent said they approved the change.

However, lack of support is no reason stop a change of the law, opponents said.

One opponent also compared the issue to racism. "There will always be some people who will prefer the status quo, but people who preferred segregated units (banned in the U.S. military in 1948) didn't leave the military by and large," notes Aubrey Sarvis, director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an organization promoting the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Read it: Obama era expected to end taboo on gays in US military

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