My letter to the editor in today's Longview News-Journal has Hutchison's response to me and my comments on her position:
Note: I have reinserted paragraph breaks which the newspaper, for some reason, did not.
Sunday, March 7: Supports repeal of Don't Ask policy
LONGVIEW NEWS JOURNAL
I recently wrote a letter to U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison urging her to help repeal the military's ban on gay men and lesbians openly serving in the military — the so-called Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.
I hoped that as a member of the Senate's Armed Services Committee, and someone with a reputation as a fair-minded legislator, Hutchison would be open to studying a repeal of the policy. To my surprise, Hutchison responded that she flatly opposes a repeal because "the Department of Defense has testified before Congress that the current policy has served the military well."
Apparently, Hutchison is unaware that Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen have testified before her committee that the time has come to end the military's discrimination against gay and lesbian service members. Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairmen Gen. Colin Powell and Gen. John Shalikashvili have also called for ending the ban.
Furthermore, Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq has voiced his support for a repeal. Even Vice President Dick Cheney, a former Secretary of Defense, has indicated he believes gay men and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly and honestly in the military.
I agree with Admiral Mullen that repealing this discriminatory policy is a simple matter of integrity and fairness. Gay and lesbian Americans have served in the military throughout our nation's history. They have fought and died, and continue to die, for the freedoms we enjoy in this country today.
If even the uniformed and civilian leadership at the Pentagon support repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, why can't the senior senator from Texas do the same?
- Patrick Franklin, Longview