Repeal of ban on gays in military incites debate
Like millions of other Americans, USC organizations leaders were split on the “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal over winter break.
The policy was repealed by the Senate by a 65 to 31 vote on Dec. 18 and was later signed into law by President Barack Obama on Dec. 22. The policy started by former President Bill Clinton 17 years ago banned gay and lesbian service members from serving openly in the military.
Zac Baker, a Safe Zone ally who is gay, said he thinks the repeal is a step in the right direction for equality.
“The same thing happened with President Truman for integrating African-Americans in the service,” said the second-year visual communications student. “Truman knew it was right to let them serve, and now Obama is doing the same thing.”
Baker said the repeal will not affect USC because the school is already headed in the right direction.
“College campuses are more progressive because of the age groups. When you live next to gay people you realize that they’re normal people,” Baker said.
The College Republicans, however, say that the timing is wrong.
“During such a major war, it is not the best idea to change such a fundamental piece of legislation,” said Jacqueline Franz, the public relations officer of the College Republicans. Franz, a second-year political science student, said a repeal should be considered later on. “Down the road there might have been a better time and place to take the law into consideration; however, right now our number one priority should be protecting our country,”
Aaron Guest, vice president of the College Democrats, said it was “a momentous occasion for us as a nation.” The third-year anthropology student said the repeal will enable more individuals to take advantage of military incentives, which assist in paying for college. Thus, he continued, it may give the many homosexual youths who have been forced out of homes and are without guardians due to their sexuality an opportunity to continue their education.
Still, Guest said repeal will not greatly affect USC.
“The fact of the matter is that allowing homosexuals to serve in the military is not going to change the fabric of the nation or the DNA of a people; it is merely allowing human beings what they fully deserve,” he said. “Business will go on as usual.”
The Green Party of USC, International Socialist Organization and International Students for Social Equality were unavailable to comment.