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DADT: women discharged at higher rate than men

This policy of ejecting trained, professional gay folks from a military that is hurting and desperate to find recruits is insane.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network reports that women in the military are being discharged at twice the rate of their presence under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

While women account for approximately 15 percent of the armed forces, they totaled 30 percent of those dismissed under the gay ban in FY2005. In all, 219 women out of a total of 726 service members were discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The Army, reported discharging 146 women in 2005; the Navy, 31; the Air Force, 28; and the Marine Corps, 14.

“Women have a long and rich history of service to our country,” said SLDN executive director C. Dixon Osburn. “Our nation is safer and more secure because of the contributions made by all women, including lesbian and bisexual women, in our armed forces. It is high time we honored the service of these patriotic women by repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ once and for all.”

An October 2004 Urban Institute study revealed the long history of service by the lesbian community. The study revealed that not only do the rates of service by coupled lesbians surpass that of other women, but that they serve longer than other women. Of women ages 18-67 who served in the armed forces, over 80 percent of coupled lesbians reported having served more than two years, compared with 74 percent of other women.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding