Blog of Rights

DADT Hits Home at CBS

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:01pm

Fans of the CBS program Sunday Morning got to hear firsthand this week from two women whose military careers were prematurely ended because of the discriminatory and counterproductive policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT).

CBS News Correspondent Kimberly Dozier profiled former Army Medic Sgt. Lacye Presley and her partner Sgt. Holly Tomson. In the report, Dozier discloses that Sgt. Presley helped to keep her alive in 2006 after her CBS News team was hit by a car bomb in Iraq. Presley was awarded the Bronze Star for her exemplary actions; however, she would go on shortly thereafter to be discharged because of her sexual orientation. Someone, in an apparent act of retaliation, sent pictures of Presley and Tomson, who was serving stateside handling bomb-sniffing dogs at the time, to Presley’s battalion commander. This started the discharge process for both women.

In a bittersweet twist to the story of Sgt. Presley and Sgt. Tomson, both women would likely not have been discharged by the military under changes to DADT’s implementation issued by Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week.

To address the concerns of those who say allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would undermine unit cohesion or morale, Dozier interviews two members of Sgt. Presley’s former platoon. Sgt. Michael Cabaday states bluntly, “I've known quite a few medics since I've been in, and I'd say she's one of the most knowledgeable ones I've ever known. She knew her job in and out.” Sgt. Rebecca Myers added “I would serve with Sergeant Presley any day, no doubt about it. She's one of the best medics that I've ever seen in my 18 years of service.” In listening to Cabaday and Myers, you can’t help but question the ridiculous nature of a policy that removes such talented men and women from their jobs.

The ACLU is urging Congress to repeal this senseless and discriminatory policy this year. Please join us in urging your members of Congress to support this common sense step.

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