Students’ reactions to repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ vary

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“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was repealed and BYU students appear split over the decision.

Although Congress repealed the policy preventing U.S. soldiers’ expression of homosexual orientation back in December, the repeal did not take affect until Sept. 20 after a 60-day waiting period from President Barack Obama’s signing of the certification of repeal.

A brief interview with more than 100 students reflected every emotion from dismay to excitement over this new age of military policy.

However, the majority of students asked did not know what “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was and had to have the policy explained before a decision was made. Most decisions were made on the spot.

Ashley James, a communications major, said she felt it was a victory for tolerance and love of fellow beings.

“I have gay friends and I think it’s their right to be open about their homosexuality and still serve the country — anything else is discrimination,” James said. “Any soldiers in the army who may be disturbed by the policy change in the beginning will get used to it.”

Others expressed worry over the repeal, which they saw as evidence of declining societal morals.

Sarah Spendlove, 18, said, “I believe allowing soldiers to serve while being openly gay is a mark of the degradation of our society.”

Still others expressed a divide in opinion.

“I mean, I think it’s good that people can be open and honest about who they are,” said Mara Cibette, 23, “but, I mean, what if soldiers start beating up gay soldiers?”

Jeff Vehawn has been a member of BYU’s Air Force branch of the ROTC for two years. He said the policy change was unlikely to create major repercussions among soldiers.

“I can’t predict the future and it’s not our call to make exactly how it will go,” Vehawn said. “I think it may give our soldiers more comfort in being who we are.”

Vehawn also explained that change is part of the life and career of a soldier.

“As soldiers and representatives of the U.S. government, we have to constantly learn how to adapt,” Vehawn said. “Adaptability is a key feature of the military. I support our government in making this decision and I’m just waiting to see how it turns out.”

 

 

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