May 27th, 2010
11:20 AM ET

Nicholson: 'Don't ask don't tell' deal is good for the country

Alexander Nicholson
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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Filed under: 360° Radar • Gay & Lesbian Issues
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Dylan

    Barry Goldwater said it best: "You don't have to be straight to shoot straight."

    As a former Army NCO and straight supporter of the repeal of DADT, I am glad to finally see some real decisive action taken on this issue.

    I'd rather serve with an honest, proud, patriotic gay man or woman than some of the creeps they're letting into the army with "moral waivers" for felonies...

    May 27, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
  2. Amy

    I dont think the issue is gay in the military, sorry we are already here in the military but the big issue is can we get payed like normal people. Look at this point, married personnel get more money because they have a dependent, which is great to help out the family. But when you have a military personnel who support there family it is not recongized.

    May 27, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
  3. Megan Kopczynski

    It is homophobia at its worst; and a clear reflection of the pety, insecure, uneducated and weak citizens that manipulate and cripple our Constitution when gay men and women are discouraged from the military! When our soldiers are brought home in caskets, should we cut open their brains to see if he/she may have been associated to the dark and terrible "gay disease"? One life sacificed or lost for American freedom should be seen as PRICELESS and remembered with great pride and admiration. What kind of country have we become to prune our brothers and sisters from society, because our own agenda is so deeply, deeply flawed?

    May 27, 2010 at 12:15 pm |