Critics of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy are gaining new allies because military recruiters are unable to meet enlistment goals.
Yet the White House and Pentagon continue to support an unjust and myopic policy that denies basic rights to one group of Americans and weakens the military in carrying out its mission.
In a new report, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network reports, "many highly trained specialists �including combat engineers and linguists� are being discharged involuntarily while the Pentagon is facing extreme challenges in recruiting and retaining troops.
"The military continues to sacrifice national security and military readiness in favor of simple prejudice," said SLDN Executive Director C. Dixon Osburn.
A West Point professor, Lt. Col. Allen Bishop, in a recent Army Times article, assailed the military policy on gays as contradictory to fundamental American principles and urged Congress to repeal the ban.
"Despite our government's claim of liberty for all, we leave homosexuals out," he wrote. "If the American military sees and is allowed to see itself as the protector of some but not all Americans, democracy fails."
Apparently the public agrees. A Boston Globe poll released in May 2005 shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans believe gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military, and other surveys over the past two years show similar support.
Former soldiers are suing in federal court to end the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, and several Democrats in Congress, joined by a few Republicans, have joined forces to co-sponsor a bill ending the policy.