For the first time, a sitting chairman of the joint chiefs of staff says allowing gays to openly serve in the military would be the right thing to do. Some we found in Albany agree that the time has come.
“I think everybody should be allowed to serve in the military regardless of their color, gender…if they’re capable, I do think so, yes,” said one woman.
“They should serve, yeah. If they want to, that’s their prerogative,” said another man.
The 17-year-old policy, commonly known as don’t ask, don’t tell could be reversed. The president’s military leadership testified on Capitol Hill that it could take a year to study the impact.
“It’s going to take a lot of examining and a lot of re-writing of military regulations,” said former JAG officer Greg Rinckey says if the policy is overturned the legal ramifications will not only include fewer discharges, but Rinckey added, “The military is no longer going to be engaged in witchhunts against homosexuals in the military.”
Those who are against overturning the policy say it’s been effective — allowing gays to serve their country. But serving in silence can be devastating says the head of the Capital District Gay and Lesbian Community Council.
“Having that family support is really important. So what you’re asking for someone who is in a same-sex relationship to deny part of who you are but please fly across the world and defend our country,” said Nora Yates.
So for this group, what’s happening in Washington is an encouraging first step.
“I think it’s really exciting because it’s finally being discussed after 16 years,” said Yates.
The group also applauded Senator Gillibrand for taking an early stand on this issue.