Sign of Change? Pentagon Essay Rebukes Ban on Gays

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2009 10:26 AM CDT
U.S. Marines in Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

(Newser) – A persuasive essay arguing against the military's ban on gay soldiers is raising hope among activists that a watershed moment is near. It's not so much because of the essay's familiar arguments—that "Don't Ask Don't Tell" hurts morale and violates civil rights—but because of its publication in a widely read Pentagon journal. "We think it is significant—a breakthrough moment," one opponent of the policy tells NPR.

"This is the first time that repeal has been argued so forcefully in an official Pentagon publication. Period." Military officials caution against reading too much into the decision to place the essay, written by an Air Force colonel, into the Joint Force Quarterly. But given the upcoming efforts in Congress to repeal the ban, along with President Obama's stated opposition to it, activists say the timing is striking.