Last night I attended a talk headlined by Lt. Dan Choi. Many of you may know him as the military officer who has been vocally opposed to Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT). While I will not regurgitate his speech, a majority of which can be found strewn across the web, I wanted to latch onto an idea mentioned and which I had not heard explained before.
In 1948 President Truman signed executive order 9981, which enacted racial desegregation in the military. Lt. Choi said some people have picked up on this recently and argued that to repeal DADT, we need to have committees and perform studies and have plans for how to integrate gays into the military, etc. But, said Lt. Choi, we don't need to do all this pre-planning and stretch it out for years, because those who draw the comparison are missing out on a vital component: gays are already integrated into every corner of the military. Unlike race, where it was easy to keep out people of a certain skin color or appearance, LGBT service members who have not run afoul of DADT are everywhere in the military. There is no need for an integration plan, because they are already integrated. All that is needed is for DADT to be repealed and for commanding officers to demand that all members, regardless of orientation, are treated with dignity and respect.
All of this is not to mention that Democrats may lose control of congress in less than a year, in which case DADT may stay on the books for years to come.