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Don't Ask, Don't Tell


The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy of the United States military prohibits soldiers from speaking about their homosexuality or bisexuality. Furthermore, this policy prohibits soldiers from even discussing homosexual acts, homosexual relationships, and homosexual marriages for themselves and of other people too. If U.S. soldiers defy this policy, they can and will be thrown out of the U.S. military.

I believe this is a clear violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America that guarantees Freedom of Speech.


There are only two restrictions for Freedom of Speech. Let's review these restrictions to see if either reason applies to the military's policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". The first reason to deny freedom of speech is if the speech is a "clear and present danger". For instance, no one can yell "Fire!" in a crowded room, because people may get injured trying to quickly exit the room. I do not understand how announcing one's sexuality would be a danger to anyone else, excluding during combat when silence and stealth are necessary. The second reason to deny freedom of speech is if the speech is "libel or slander". Announcing one's sexuality could (unfortunately) only harm oneself; therefore no one else would be harmed by defamation. This is not libel or slander. Therefore, I believe that the exceptions for Freedom of Speech do not apply to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

The reason that the military gives for their "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is because knowing someone's homosexuality "would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability." Let's analyze this statement carefully. The "unacceptable risk" is a subjective measurement for something that can not be quantified. The "high standards of morale" is vague and questionable for several reasons. The military suffers from low morale quite often, especially during wartime. How does knowing someone's sexuality decrease morale? Is homosexuality immoral, thus morale degrading? The next part is "good order and discipline." I believe that homosexuals are equally disciplined and orderly as heterosexuals, especially when both are trained equally. And finally, "unit cohesion" is also nonsense, since homosexuals and heterosexuals function perfectly normally together in society, so the military would not be any different.

In conclusion, not only are the reasons for the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy unfounded, but this policy violates the freedom of speech that all American citizens should and must have.

by Phil for Humanity
on 12/17/2007

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