By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com January 08 2003 12:00 AM ET
Following U.S. representative Charles Rangel's (D-N.Y.) announcement two weeks ago that he would recommend reinstating the draft, a group of 15 lesbian and gay service members has written to Congress proposing that if the draft returns, gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the armed forces, according to a press release from the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The president of the group, known as the Gay and Lesbian Service Members for Equality, submitted the letter January 6 to Congress through the CSSMM in order to preserve anonymity. CSSMM staff members conducted background interviews and checks to verify GLSME's authenticity after the group's president first contacted them in November.
According to the letter, which was addressed to Senate majority leader William Frist (R-Tenn.) and House speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), GLSME members propose "that if there is a draft, gays and lesbians should be included...and called on to sacrifice like everybody else. So we ask you to call for the inclusion of acknowledged homosexuals if the draft is reinstated."
The letter follows last week's declaration by Charles Moskos, the primary architect of the military's current "don't ask, don't tell" policy, that the antigay policy should be scrapped if the draft returns. Moskos said, "You can't use a gay ban with a draft because that would make it too easy for people to get out."