At a community forum Tuesday night, students and staff of the Vermont Law School debated the merits of the school's policy to ban military recruiters on campus because of the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell was passed by Congress in 1993 under President Clinton. It was seen as a compromise between the old law, which banned gays from serving in the military altogether, and those who wanted gays to be allowed to serve openly. Under DADT a gay person is allowed to serve so long as he or she keeps his or her sexual identity a secret.
"I think that it's a rather unjust law," said Catherine Peterson, a first year VLS student. "I think that if they are allowed to serve then they should be able to say who they are."
All law schools in the country banned military recruiters from campus after the schools adopted a nondiscrimination policy that includes sexual orientation. Many reversed their ban after the federal government ruled it would withhold funding from schools that don't allow military recruiters. Vermont Law School and William Mitchell, in Minnesota, opted to forgo the funding and are the only two law schools in the country that still bar military recruiters on campus.
"We're not sure exactly what our nondiscrimination policy would look like [if we were to allow recruiters]," said VLS professor Jackie Gardina. "Would we remove sexual orientation, which neither the faculty nor the students feel comfortable with? Would we make an exception for the military?"
DADT may soon be a thing of the past though. President Obama called for its repeal in his State of the Union address in January, and both the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense have said gays should be allowed to serve openly. With the law under review so is the VLS policy on military recruiters.
"We invite this discussion every year. What makes it more exciting this year is that there is so much momentum for repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell that it feels as if our position is gong to be vindicated," said Gardina.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has ordered a 10-month review of the policy within the branches of the military, and will submit report before Congress makes a final decision on the repeal of DADT. If the repeal is passed Vermont Law School says there will be absolutely no reason to keep recruiters off campus.
Monday, March 10 2014 10:31 AM EDT2014-03-10 14:31:26 GMT
The spring issue of "4 Legs & a Tail" has hit news stands. Stories include getting your pet adjusted to a new baby, advice on keeping pets safe during golf season and Vermont's first Dog and Pony Show.More >>
The spring issue of "4 Legs & a Tail" has hit news stands. Editor Tim Hoehn visited the Morning Show to share a few of the cover stories that might interest pet lovers.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 10:26 AM EDT2014-03-10 14:26:50 GMT
A well-known Vermont judge has passed away.According to the Vermont Standard Judge Franklin Billings Jr., died Sunday morning. Billings was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives in 1960, quicklyMore >>
Franklin Billings Jr., an iconic political and judicial leader and the son of a former Vermont governor, has died at the Woodstock home where he was born. He was 91.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 9:36 AM EDT2014-03-10 13:36:39 GMT
Chef Courtney Contos of Contos Store and Kitchen in Shelburne gave us her mom's homemade soda bread recipe. This Irish treat is just in time for St. Patrick's Day. Try your hand at it. Mom's Irish SodaMore >>
Chef Courtney Contos of Contos Store and Kitchen in Shelburne gave us her mom's homemade soda bread recipe. This Irish treat is just in time for St. Patrick's Day. Try your hand at it.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:43 PM EDT2014-03-10 02:43:23 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:56 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:56:33 GMT
Flags were flying on the Statehouse steps Sunday afternoon as more than 500 people gathered for the Gun Owners of Vermont Rally."Vermonters -- not just hunting Vermonters who happen to have firearms forMore >>
A trio of gun control measures may have gotten the green light from Burlington voters on Town Meeting Day, but the charter changes face strong opposition across the state, and a possible uphill battle at the Statehouse.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:43 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:43:32 GMT
Is the marketing behind Electronic Cigarettes aimed at kids?New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) says the industry's trendy packaging and flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy aren't foolingMore >>
Schumer is co-sponsoring a Senate bill that would ban e-cigarette marketing aimed at kids.More >>