Vets, Activists Fight 'Don't Ask'

Gay rights groups assail longstanding policy
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2007 5:21 PM CST
With the Washington Monument in the background, American flags are seen on the National Mall in Washington, Friday, Nov. 30, 2007, to mark the 14th anniversary of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law which...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A gay rights coalition marked today, the 14th anniversary of the enactment of “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” with a renewed push against the law. Activists planted 12,000 American flags on the National Mall to commemorate the troops discharged under the policy and sent an open letter to Congress signed by 28 retired generals and officers urging its repeal, the Army Times reports.

Advocates point out that many of the personnel discharged under the policy, which permits gay men and lesbians to serve only if they conceal their sexual orientation, had critical skills. For example, more than 300 translators have been discharged. In statements, the Pentagon said its hands were tied by the law, and the military “will follow congressional direction on homosexual conduct.” (Read more Don't Ask, Don't Tell stories.)