Editor's Note: Guest blogger Paul DeMiglio is the Senior Communications Manager for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a national, non-profit legal services, watchdog and policy organization dedicated to ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
The time to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is long overdue. Service members are being fired -- almost two per day -- because they are gay or lesbian. So far, 13,000 have been kicked out under DADT.
The experience of Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach is a painful reminder of how this law harms qualified patriots and denies LGBT Americans the freedom to serve. A highly decorated, F-15E combat aviator, Fehrenbach has earned nine Air Medals, including one for Heroism, throughout his 18-year career. He was hand-picked to protect the airspace over Washington, D.C. after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Despite his impeccable record of service, Fehrenbach, who is currently on active duty, will likely be losing his career and $3 million in retirement pay.
The country is ready. Public opinion has shifted dramatically in the 16 years since DADT was first signed into law. For the first time, a clear majority of both conservatives and liberals agree that DADT has got to go. A June Gallup poll in fact shows that 69 percent of the American people - including 58 percent of conservatives and 58 percent of churchgoers - believe gays and lesbians should serve openly. DADT is no longer the controversial, hot-button issue it used to be. 2009 is not 1993.