Letters to the Editor – October 21, 2010


Don’t ask, don’t tell needs to be repealed

[In reference to Alex Belz’s column in the Oct. 14 issue of the North Wind,] as a person of faith, I believe no category of citizens of the United States should be regarded as second class and singled out for discrimination. That is why I support the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell (DADT).

DADT is legalized discrimination. No category of citizens of the United States should be regarded as second class and singled out for discrimination. More than 13,000 gays and lesbians have been discharged under DADT, and an uncounted number of others have left prior to completing full careers due to the pressures imposed by DADT.

Gay and lesbian service members pay a terrible personal cost for their service. The continual denial of who they are as persons, maintaining lives of secrecy and separation from their service comrades, not being able to acknowledge their orientation or their loved ones, and knowing that if they are killed or wounded their loved ones will not be notified or entitled to government care or benefits–these are costs borne by no other group.

The repeal of DADT is not about behavior; it is about truth and integrity. The same fraternization and conduct regulations, as well as the Uniform Code of Military Justice, will continue to apply to all service members regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

Many military chaplains support the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell.  In a letter the President and Secretary of Defense (February 24, 2010), military chaplains said that “don’t ask, don’t tell is contrary to the core values of all the services. In fact, DADT is the first time in history that our military has been compelled to enforce a military policy that is completely at odds with the morality expressed in historic core values.”

The Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Mike Mullen announced that he favored ending the military policy banning openly gay service men and women; we’re asking members to “basically lie.”

The repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell is the right response to this unjust law.

Anthony J. Commarata
Akron, OH

Vote Yes on Proposal 1

We should take advantage of a rare opportunity to overhaul Lansing and reinvent Michigan by voting yes on Proposal 1, the call for a state constitutional convention.

Rewriting our state constitution to make government more efficient and to accommodate new technology is the best way to position Michigan for long-term growth.

Unlike the federal Constitution, state constitutions are regularly rewritten (Michigan is on its fourth; Georgia is on its tenth). They define the structure of state and local governments and vary greatly from state to state.

Michigan’s current constitution has left us with a government that we can no longer afford: full-time legislature, thousands of local governments, too many public employees per capita and inadequate budgeting rules. A constitutional convention will downsize government making it more affordable and more efficient.

The opponents of Proposal 1, led by Lansing special interest groups who prefer the status quo, resort to fear-mongering by greatly exaggerating both the cost and risk of a constitutional convention.

The cost is minimized by legislation I authored that pays delegates nominally and utilizes the latest technology to reduce overhead expenses. The cost is easily recouped through the structural reforms a new constitution would implement. These reforms will save taxpayers billions each year.

The changes needed to fix Michigan today are outside the reach of the next governor and legislature. Revising Michigan’s constitution offers the best way to reopen Michigan for business. We should seize it by voting yes on Proposal 1.

Tom George
Republican senator,
Kalamazoo, Mich.
Co-Chairman of Yes on Proposal 1