Santa Barbara, Calif. – Leading Arizonans, including the head of a local group of active duty gay and lesbian troops, have said that Senator John McCain’s support for “don’t ask, don’t tell” is a reflection of prejudice, not concerns about military readiness. McCain is leading efforts to derail the repeal of the ban in the Senate, which may vote next week.
According to the chapter head of OutServe Arizona, “There is only one clear reason for Senator McCain’s continued support of this outdated policy—prejudice. We are human beings, we protect the United States of America, and we deserve to be treated as such.” The chapter head is an active duty military member who cannot disclose her name because of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” OutServe is an organization of more than 1,600 active duty gay and lesbian troops.
Linda Thomas, Director of Programs at Wingspan, Southern Arizona’s LGBT Community Center, said of Senator McCain’s opposition to repeal: “Senator McCain claims to be motivated by concerns about military readiness, but that is simply not true. Bigotry is the only justification for ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.'” Thomas is a 22-year veteran of the Air Force.
Phoenix resident and retired Marine Corps Brigadier General Hugh Aitken added that, “In my 35-year military career, I served with gay Marines in combat units, and I never once experienced any problem. There is no reason to support ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ except for prejudice. Those who continue to support discrimination should study the issue in detail, become educated as to the facts, and leave the intolerance of the past behind.”
Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, will appear on The Dr. Howard Gluss Show this Friday at 8:30 PM Arizona time, 7:30 PM PT, and will discuss the evidence suggesting that Senator McCain is motivated by prejudice, not concerns about military readiness. The show will be broadcast live on KFNX1100 AM radio, which is based in Phoenix and reaches a listening audience from Dallas to Las Vegas. The broadcast also can be heard over the internet at www.1100kfnx.com.
Belkin published a column on the Huffington Post today in which he offered five factors suggesting that Senator McCain’s opposition to repeal is a result of prejudice.
He added, “No one takes the charge of anti-gay prejudice lightly. However, when politicians change their justification for discrimination after previous rationales have become discredited, there is no other conclusion to draw.”