Don't ask, don't tell
Joyce Wong, Renaissance College
Recently, the US Senate tried to open a debate on a bill that concerns the repeal of the ban on military personnel being openly homosexual.
Regardless of President Barack Obama's promise to revoke this policy, with just 56 senators voting in favour of the debate, four short of the 60 needed, the discussion is unable to proceed.
This law, known as 'don't ask, don't tell', expels homosexual military personnel if they reveal their sexual orientation. Though many countries still prohibit homosexuals in the military, of the countries that do allow it, the US remains to be the only one to ban individuals from being open about it. Those against it say soldiers will become distracted if they know someone is homosexual.
In my opinion, fears of 'distraction' seem unnecessary. Those who serve in the military are a focused, disciplined and unified group that fights for their country's interests. It's absurd that anything less be expected of them. People in the military vary in race, sex, religion and political views. These elements can also cause distraction, so should they be legally regulated as well?
National duties override personal issues, and forcing people to keep silent about their sexuality can be an emotional burden on them.
As a country that has branded itself a free land where human rights are prized, the US approach to this matter presents a huge irony.