Don't ask if you don't want no

“During the State of the Union address on Jan. 27, President Barrack Obama announced that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would be a priority for his administration this year. For the first time since the Bush administration, this was a huge breakthrough for the gay community of the U.”

During the State of the Union address on Jan. 27, President Barrack Obama announced that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would be a priority for his administration this year. For the first time since the Bush administration, this was a huge breakthrough for the gay community of the U.S.

Obviously, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell will be a process and the administration is still in the early stages of laying the groundwork. In fact, as of Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed plans to establish a rule that would prevent hospitals from denying visitation privileges to gay and lesbian partners. This is a step in the right direction.

However, there is one detail administration is overlooking: military families in the same position are still prohibited from visitation because of barriers still standing due to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. This means wounded men and women with same-sex partners have died alone without the support of their loved ones because of prejudice.

More than 30,000 military personnel have been injured since deployment to Iraq. How many of them suffered alone because of dogmatic politics? What about the children of homosexual couples? How many children have been prohibited from seeing their parent, the person who raised them from birth, because of intolerance?

The issue of hospital visitation is about far more than homophobes confronting their discomfort with sleeping in the same barracks as homosexuals. This is about family. Hospital visitation remains to be a human rights issue, not a gay rights issue and it needs to be confronted directly. No human being deserves to be denied the right to see their loved ones when they are lying alone in a hospital bed as a result of their bravery and dedication to this country.

The day before the health care reform vote, Obama quoted President Lincoln, saying I am not bound to win but I am bound to be true. It is with great hope that the gay community anticipates the abolishment of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as a whole in accordance with the promise Obama made during the State of the Union address. Human rights means all humans.