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The Hidden Effects of "Don't Ask Don’t Tell"

Gay and lesbian partners of service members forced by law to sacrifice in silence.
 
 
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When President Obama recently chose Sonia Sotomayor as his Supreme Court nominee, he singled out her "practical understanding of how the law works in the everyday lives of the American people." It is now time for Obama to apply that standard to the families of gays and lesbians who choose to serve in the United States military. A practical understanding of the effects of "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" on the partners of gay service members would quickly reveal its failures.

As a producer of the documentary series In Their Boots, I have been privileged to meet a number of recent veterans and their families.  These vets face many complex issues to which there are no easy solutions. From a lack of mental health resources to the struggles of integrating back into civilian society, there are difficult policy choices that must be made in order to best serve our nation’s veterans and their families. However, one issue facing military families has a clear and obvious solution. By repealing "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell," our government could allow gay service members to communicate with their loved ones openly while on deployment, and it would save millions of dollars currently wasted by discharging essential military personnel during wartime. How’s that for a 2 for 1 deal?