Special to CNN
Editor's note: Alexander Nicholson, a former U.S. Army human intelligence collector, is the founder and executive director of Servicemembers United, a national organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans and their allies.
Washington (CNN) - The word compromise is never music to the ears of passionate advocates for a cause. This is especially true for advocates of overturning the military's "don't ask, don't tell" law, a law that was supposed to be a suitable compromise itself in 1993.
But when idealism collides with political reality, risk avoidance and workable solutions become the goal. The deal that was reached on DADT this week between the White House, the Pentagon, gay rights groups (including my own), and pro-repeal champions on Capitol Hill is that workable solution and will get us where we need to go.
More than 14,000 proudly serving men and women have been abruptly fired from the military pursuant to the DADT law, and many more have voluntarily left the military because of the burden of serving under this unnecessary restriction. The DADT law prevents our armed forces from being able to recruit and retain troops from the largest possible pool of talent, and it is a stain on the integrity of our nation. We cannot afford to wait until next year to lock in full legislative repeal. Our country needs this now.
The risks of waiting until after the midterm elections to address DADT legislatively were simply too great. It is possible that the pro-repeal majority could lose seats in November, and could even lose control of one chamber of Congress. If it passes, this deal will get the looming legislative battle over with.
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