Thursday, July 10, 2008

Obama Tells Army Times He Supports Allowing Gays to Serve

In an in depth interview with Army Times, Barack Obama Reiterates his Support for Gays to Serve in the Military:

Obama also spoke of rocking the boat. In what seems certain to be one of his more controversial proposals for the military, Obama said he wants to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.

Equity and fairness are part of the reason for lifting the ban on acknowledged homosexuals serving in the military, Obama said, but there are practical reasons, too — like getting “all hands on deck” when the nation needs people in uniform. “If we can’t field enough Arab linguists, we shouldn’t be preventing an Arab linguist from serving his or her country because of what they do in private,” he said, referring to the 2006 discharge of about 60 linguists for violating the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on service by homosexuals.

“I want to make sure that we are doing it in a thoughtful and principled way. But I do believe that at a time when we are short-handed, that everybody who is willing to lay down their lives on behalf of the United States and can do so effectively, can perform critical functions, should have the opportunity to do so.”

Asked how he would deal with opposition from within the Pentagon, Obama smiled and said: “Well, I’m a pretty persuasive guy.” But he acknowledged that pushing such a legal change through Congress would be more challenging. “We have to distinguish whether there are functional barriers to doing this and are people prepared for the political heat.”

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