In an interview last weekend with a local television station in West Palm Beach, Florida, Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan outlined his belief that reinstating “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would be a “step in the wrong direction.”
“Now that it’s done, we should not reverse it. I think that would be a step in the wrong direction because people have already disclosed themselves,” he told WPJV-TV. “I think this issue is past us. It’s done. And I think we need to move on.”
Ryan originally voted against repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2010. He stated during last weekend’s interview that he felt it was the wrong timing to dispose of the law.
“I talked to a lot of good friends of mine who are combat leaders in the theater, and they just didn’t think the timing of this was right to do this when our troops were in the middle of harm’s way in combat,” Ryan said.
His running mate, Mitt Romney, made a similar statement last year.
“That’s already occurred. I’m not planning on reversing that at this stage,” he explained to the Des Moines Register. “I was not comfortable making the change during a period of conflict, due to the complicating features of a new program in the middle of two wars going on, but those wars are winding down, and moving in that direction at this stage no longer presents that problem.”
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which allowed open homosexuality in the military, was officially repealed in September 2011 after it was overturned by both houses of Congress the year prior. The move marked the first time in American history that homosexuals were permitted to vocalize and engage in same-sex behavior while in service, and was denounced by many. Historic documents outline that homosexuality has been sharply condemned in the military since the nation’s founding.
In 1778, General George Washington ordered Lieutenant Frederick Gotthold Enslin to be drummed out of the camp for “attempting to commit sodomy” with a male soldier. His March 14th proclamation stated, “His Excellency, the Commander in Chief, approves the sentence, and with abhorrence and detestation of such infamous crimes, orders Lieut. Enslin to be drummed out of camp tomorrow morning by all the drummers and fifers in the Army never to return; the drummers and fifers to attend on the Grand Parade at guard mounting for that purpose.”