We asked readers about the ban on gays in the military and whether the "don't ask, don't tell" policy should be changed:
If any person is willing to put their lives on the line, and for minimal pay no less, their sexual orientation should never be an issue. It isn't an issue for our police departments, nor should it be for any branch of our military.
I served 21 years in the Navy as a pilot, including many years aboard aircraft carriers. Permitting gays in the military is a very bad idea, even worse than permitting women to serve aboard ship. At least the women are cordoned off into private areas of their own. The men are pushed together into cramped spaces, shower together, and dress and undress without any privacy whatever.
This simply cannot be permitted for common-sense reasons.
Benton L. Bradberry
I am an ex-Marine from 40 years ago, and I believe it is time to get with it and lift this "political move" to avoid tough issues.
In order to mollify a few, is it worth it to diminish the cohesiveness shared by military units?
The community shower would become a memory as few straight folks would shower with the other.
There would be no good result from lifting the ban.
The ban on gays in the military should have been lifted long ago. If they are good enough to serve this country and perhaps even die for it, they need to be treated as equals. We have lost many good military people, several of whom even spoke Farsi, etc. What a waste of talent and how ungrateful we are to ask them to hide their true selves.
I personally don't care to know anyone's sexual preference, but I would not feel comfortable knowing that the person standing next to me may be attracted to me, especially if we had to be showering at the same time. I prefer don't ask, don't tell.
Having spent two years in the U.S. Army, I can see the problems. If there were two or three in the same barracks it would probably turn into a little "soap opera" situation, with love triangles, etc. Being fully approved, these "gays" as they are called, would then be hitting on the straight guys and gals. Before long, the military would be a haven for gays. Would you want to command a group like this? Gays do not belong in the military.
The current ban on gays is based on fear, is outdated and based on ignorance.
The military was once segregated along racial lines and women were only recently allowed in combat duty. These changes to integrate the military and allow women in combat duty were done despite military brass kicking and screaming that the changes would weaken the armed forces. We now know that these actions strengthened our military.
As a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel with 25 years' service, I support lifting the ban on gays in the military. Even before the don't ask, don't tell policy came about, there were gays that we knew about in the military. They were still in the closet in those days, but their sexual preference did not affect their performance. I would encourage the military to accept the individual according to performance level and not just automatically boot or prohibit them from military service because of sexual preference.
My opinions are informed by five years in the Marines and 13 months of combat in Vietnam. …