As conservatives in the United States try to argue that repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) would lead to all sorts of horrors like an increase in “body art,” natural disasters, and a reinstatement of the draft, British citizens are serving comfortably alongside openly gay men and women. Yesterday at a reception at Number 10 Downing Street to celebrate February’s LGBT History Month, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown underscored the country’s more progressive position:
Brown singled out the lesbians, gays and bisexuals from the Army, Navy and Air Force who attended the event in uniform.
He told them: “You are the pride of our country and we thank you very much. We know this debate continues in America today. I would say to people who still favour ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’, look at our experience in Britain.”
Brown also hosted a reception for LGBT History Month last year, when he slammed California’s Prop. 8 as “unacceptable.”
A recent report by the Palm Center backed up Brown’s statements on gay men and women serving openly in the military. The study found that foreign militaries have been able to quickly and successfully integrate:
Other key conclusions of the new study are that preliminary findings that open gays do not disrupt military effectiveness hold over time, including in Britain, whose policy of non-discrimination marked its ten-year anniversary last month; that successful transitions did not involve creating separate facilities or distinct rules for gays or straights; and that the U.S. has a long tradition of turning to foreign armed forces as relevant sources of information about effective military policy.
Yesterday on the House floor, Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) read a letter from an active duty soldier in Afghanistan who had “learned that a fellow soldier was also gay, only after he was killed by an IED in Iraq.” The deceased soldier’s partner also “wrote the unit to say how much the victim had loved the military; how they were the only family he had ever known.” (HT: Towleroad)