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Fox News Rejects Ad Supporting Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
Fox News Channel has refused to air an ad that showcases leading generals from American-allied militaries refuting arguments that repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) threatens unit cohesion.
Passed by Congress in 1993, DADT prohibits open military service by gay and lesbian Americans. Many argued then and still argue now that allowing open service will have a detrimental affect on unit cohesion and troop morale.
The Palm Center, an LGBT think tank based at the University of California–Santa Barbara, produced the ad. The TV spot includes comments, filmed in May 2010, from Major General Walter Semianiw, Chief of Military Personnel in the Canadian Forces, and retired Major General Simon Willis, former Head of Defense Personnel in the Australian Defense Force. Semianiw has since been promoted to Lieutenant General and leads Canada Command, according to a press release from the Center.
In the ad, both military leaders say they’ve experienced no negative impact from open service by gays and lesbians.
“There is no negative impact of having men and women of any sexual orientation fighting together, be it in Afghanistan, be it in Iraq,” Major General Semianiw says.
Major General Willis adds, “The lifting of the homosexual ban was a bit like Y2K. It was a non-event, and it continues to be a non-event.”
Currently, there are more than 1,400 Australian and 2,800 Canadian troops fighting with U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
“I am surprised that Fox News would reject an ad featuring allied Generals, given that host Bill O'Reilly and guest contributor Liz Cheney have both expressed support for open gay service,” Palm Center director Aaron Belkin says in the release. “This is an important time for input from all sides on this issue, and I hope Fox will reconsider.”
Palm Center deputy director Christopher Neff says his group still intends to air the ad and will approach other networks.
The repeal of DADT has been a sticking point for progressives this year. President Barack Obama promised to repeal the law in his State of the Union in February. LGBT advocacy organizations like the Human Rights Campaign have pushed for repeal this year. A Pentagon study researching implementation of repeal is scheduled to be released Nov. 30, after which more Congressional action might be possible. A repeal has already passed the U.S. House and awaits approval by the Senate.
Matt Comer is a staff writer for Campus Progress.