The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice


Debra A. Luker


The violent murder of Army Private First Class Barry Winchell, a suspected homosexual, is a gruesome example of how the military does not tolerate homosexuals. The military’s current homosexual policy – referred to as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue, Don’t Harass – is ineffective. The policy creates an atmosphere of intolerance that leads to discrimination among homosexual service members, and this discrimination often has violent ends. This comment analyzes the ways other countries implement policies for their homosexual service members, and also offers proposals to improve the current homosexual policy in the United States. The author discusses how the United States is the only Western power banning homosexuals from military service. At the time this comment was written, the United States and Turkey were the NATO members that banned homosexuals from openly serving in the military. The United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Israel, and a few other nations have all lifted its ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military. These implementations have shown that fears of a decrease in recruitment, retention, cohesion, and morale were unfounded, and that the new policies had positive effects on that nation’s military force. The author then presents ways the United States can improve their current policy regarding homosexual service members. Her first proposal is to repeal the homosexual policy, amend the sodomy law, and require equal enforcement among service members. Her next proposal is to repeal the homosexual policy and require equal enforcement. The final option proposed is to simply amend the homosexual policy. The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue, Don’t Harass policy in its current form is too ambiguous and leads to increased discrimination, harassment, and violence towards homosexual service members. Lifting the ban and amending the current policy is the only way to protect these service members who fight to protect the citizens of the United States.

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The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice

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St. Mary's University School of Law



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