UPDATED 5:30pm: High-Ranking El Pasoans Support Repeal Of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

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POSTED: Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 6:26pm

UPDATED: Friday, December 17, 2010 - 4:21pm

EL PASO - A controversial policy that kicks gays out of the military may soon be voted away, and some high-ranking El Pasoans seem to be okay with that.

Gay soldiers may soon not have to live in the shadows of the U.S. military. Wednesday the House passed another attempt to repeal the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy.

"I stood up proud and I said I was a gay man in the U.S. military, and I wanted to serve proudly,"Jose Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez says he was discharged from the Navy after he was outed by a hospital and fellow soldiers. That's why he's happy the repeal is gaining support in El Paso, a huge military community.

Representative Silvestre Reyes supported the repeal saying soldiers are entitled to the same freedoms that all Americans enjoy in the workplace.

So what does the Commander of Fort Bliss think? We asked him in a public chat on the El Paso Times website. He replied, "In talking to our soldiers, I do not think that repealing don't ask, don't tell will be a big deal... Personally, I have always been against bigotry and discrimination."

"It's exciting to know that they feel that way. Many more generals feel the the same way, but to know here in Fort Bliss, here in my city he supports the repeal of don't ask, don't tell, I'm excited," Rodriguez said.

Those who support 'don't ask, don't tell' say the repeal will only hurt the U.S. military in a time of war. It's now up to the Senate to decide if that's a valid concern.

 

ORIGINAL STORY:

EL PASO - The house passed a repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy yesterday with the support of Representative Silvestre Reyes.

In a statement to NewsChannel 9 Reyes said "As a combat veteran, I strongly believe that soldiers fighting for the freedoms of all Americans are entitled to the same freedoms that all Americans enjoy in the workplace."

Today in a public chat on ElPasoTimes.com we asked Fort Bliss Commander Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard what he thinks about the repeal. He said, "In talking to our Soldiers, I do not think that repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell will be a big deal. The Army has often been on the leading edge of social change in our society. My father joined an Army in 1950 that had only integrated two years earlier. Personally, I have always been against bigotry and discrimination."

People against the measure have argued repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell could lead to problems within the U.S. Military.

We are working on talking with a local man discharged by the Navy because of the controversial policy. See the interview at 5, 6 and 10pm!

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Correct me if I am wrong but prior to Don't Ask, Don't Tell, ALL homosexuals were REMOVED from the Military if they were found to BE homosexuals.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell was created as a compromise so that Gays & Lesbians COULD Be in the Military & serve their country without having to disclose their sexual preference?

If we repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell without changing the current UCMJ & previous standard operating procedures, won't ALL gays be discharged for admitting they are homosexual?

To continue no one should be asked what their gender is, what their religion is or their race when applying for military service if this policy is repealed. No one in uniform is going to be candid about their true feelings about any of this especially if they are leaders in the military. A General who is being asked what his or her opinion is about all of this has already been given guidance on how to respond to these questions. Bottom line the branch of service on your uniform is your identity

Why do individuals need to be identified as Homosexual Soldiers? When I served I didn't distinguish myself as a Heterosexual Soldier. Military service men and women wear the uniforms of our nations services in order to eliminate individualism and to protect gender identity. If don't ask don't tell is repealed then an individuals gender needs to be eliminated to. Same physical standard across the board regardless of gender. Haircuts, under clothes and billeting should be unisex as well.

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