To the Editor:
I would like to pass along this encouraging letter I received regarding the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Isn't it reassuring to know that the gay and lesbian has supportive representation in Washington!
Just thought you might like to know about Congressman Cooper's stand on this important issue.
Dear Mr. Neely:
Thank you for writing me in support of Representative Meehan's legislation, H.R. 1246, the Military Readiness Enhancement Act. As you know, one of the central goals of this bill is to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. The military is a unique organization that has unique rules, but we must constantly evaluate personnel policies.
The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was an attempt to allow homosexuals to serve in the military without disrupting unit cohesion and readiness. Unfortunately, it ended up being a compromise that satisfied no one and antagonized everyone.
Gay service members feel they cannot serve without sacrificing a significant portion of their identity, while many military leaders believe the policy is vague and threatens camaraderie within military units. There are no easy answers. When I hear that Arabic linguists are being expelled because of their sexuality at a time when we are facing critical shortages, I am concerned for the readiness of our forces.
I am also concerned when military leaders tell me they would face severe disciplinary problems by allowing openly gay members to serve. The reality of the situation is that there are gay people in the military. We cannot ignore their service, nor can we ignore the advice of the military and exclude military leaders from policy changes on this issue. The Congress, the President, and the Services must come together and present a united front if we are to take on the complicated and important "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue. If you have any concerns in the future, please let me know.
Member of Congress