Letters From Military Families on DADT



While the Pentagon surveys the spouses of military members about the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is highlighting the perspectives of military family members affected by the discriminatory policy.

On Friday some 150,000 spouses of military members began to receive the surveys asking them how they would feel if the policy were repealed. SLDN wants the Pentagon to hear from the family members of gay service members, too.

“As the Pentagon reaches out to 150,000 straight couples on how their lives are impacted, these letters will share the perspective of those forced to serve under this law alongside their loved ones,” writes the group.

The letter for Monday is from Lynne Kennedy, partner to Capt. Joan Darrah, U.S. Navy (Ret.). The couple has been together for 20 years this December.

Read the letter below.

General Carter F. Ham
Commanding General, U.S. Army Europe
Co-Chair, Comprehensive Review Working Group

Hon. Jeh C. Johnson
General Counsel, U.S. Department of Defense
Co-Chair, Comprehensive Review Working Group


U.S. Sen. Carl M. Levin
Chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee

U.S. Sen. John S. McCain
Ranking Member, Senate Armed Services Committee

U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman
Member, Senate Armed Services Committee

General Ham and Mr. Johnson:

In 1990 — while working as a reference librarian at the Library of Congress — I met Joan Darrah, an active duty Naval Officer. I already knew about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but I soon woke up to the harsh reality that loved ones of gay and lesbian family members are forced to serve in silence, too.

Over the years, Joan had adjusted to living two lives — in the closet at work and out after hours. For me, it was a bit of an adjustment as I had been fortunate to work for an employer who valued my skills and expertise and realized that my being a lesbian in no way detracted from my ability to do a great job.

I knew that Joan could be deployed at any moment. She may be away from home for two or three years. I realized that being with an active duty military officer was even more constricting than I could have possibly imagined and I worried constantly about Joan’s well being. Yet, through it all, I knew our relationship was worth the compromises. I knew we had to make it work for Joan to continue to serve our Country.

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