In the wee hours of the morning the pitter patter of little feet can be heard making their way to our bed. This happens twice every night; Darling 2 and then Darling 1, until our bed is crowded and cramped. I don't know how or why it began, but more than likely we allowed it to preserve our sleep and theirs. Sleep is a much sought after, hot commodity in our household.
Plus it was sweet to cuddle up with my little, sleeping Darlings. Now, it's still sweet, but they have grown...a lot; and it's more irritating than anything else to have a knee sticking in my back and an elbow jabbed into my neck. It's a bad policy to have, and we should do something to put an end to it, but that would mean less sleep for me.
Much like our little morning bed crashers, the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) military policy has gone on too long. DADT prohibits military personnel from discriminating against or harassing homosexual or bisexual service members or applicant and bars openly gay, lesbian or bisexual persons from military service.
Time for Change
It seems as though talk of repealing this policy has gone on forever. Finally, in Dec. 2010, this policy was repealed by Congress. Just last week, President Obama certified that the repeal would not harm the military's readiness, which means that after 17 years, it will be repealed on Sept. 20, 2011.
Months ago, after Congress passed the repeal of this policy the military branches began the process of preparing the soldiers for this change in policy by training staff and soldiers. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, has assured Pres. Obama that the military is ready to implement this change in policy without missing a beat.
The Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness stated that this change "is all about leadership, professionalism, discipline and respect" for the military. Pres. Obama stated, "Our military will no longer be deprived of the talents and skills of patriotic Americans just because they happen to be gay or lesbian."
What Does It Mean?
So, what exactly does the repeal mean? It means that men and women will be able to serve our country and be true to who they are at the same time. Sexual orientation will no longer be an issue in regards to military service, and those who were discharged solely under DADT may reapply for re-entry into the military.
Pentagon staff will be taking a close look at sexual orientation neutral benefits. Service members can designate partners as beneficiaries on life insurance policies, thrift savings plans and survivor benefits. However, the Defense of Marriage Act does prohibit extending some military benefits to same-sex couples.
For gay and lesbian service members with partners and/or children from a same-sex relationship this means that they will be able to say goodbye to their loved ones before deployments; be greeted by family and loved ones upon arriving back home; freely talk about their families and friends with other service members; stop living in fear that their carefully maintained heterosexual façade might slip and expose who they truly are; and provide for their loved ones in the event of death. Essentially this repeal will afford gay or lesbian soldiers the same freedoms as heterosexual soldiers.
For future generations of service members this means that our children who feel the call to serve their country can do so without feeling shame, inadequacy or fear regarding his or her sexual orientation. The repeal of DADT means that children of gay and lesbian service members can feel pride and honor about their parents who serve and protect their country.
Why should people who want to serve their country and protect their fellow compatriots be limited, confined, punished, harassed, abused or shunned because of their sexual orientation? They shouldn't be. I'm glad there are citizens who feel the need to serve their country and join the military. I feel deep appreciation for all service members; and I thank them for their dedication. Over and out...
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