DENVER (CBS4) – The military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is officially a thing of the past of Sept. 20. Colorado politicians were among those who pushed to eliminate the policy relating to gays and lesbians in the armed forces.
Luiza Fritz claims she was discharged from the Army for being a lesbian after she served for nearly 14 years. Fritz was discharged three years ago. She was a sergeant in the Army and didn’t hide her sexual identity but also said it never interfered with her duties.
“When I’m in uniform, I’m in uniform,” she told CBS4 reporter Evrod Cassimy. “It’s time to do a job and be Sgt. Fritz and take care of these guys.”
“It was never, ‘Hey, let’s talk about the rainbow flag and let’s flaunt it around.’ It’s about a professional environment,” she said. “I acted as a professional and so did they.”
Fritz believes information on her old “MySpace” page is what led to her discharge. It showed she was a lesbian and was married to a woman.
She still remembers the pain of the discharge.
“It really hurt, it really hurt,” she said.
Fritz believes repealing the policy is the right thing for the nation.
“This going to strengthen our country.”
Among those who worked for the repeal is Rick Palacio, who is the chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party.
“In our Declaration of Independence it says all men are created equal,” Palacio said. “What this law does, the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is it allows us to get closer to that fundamental principle.”
Sen. Mark Udall serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“I believe ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was harmful to our national security and readiness especially while we are embroiled in two wars,” Udall said.
Udall said the military cannot afford to discharge skilled men and women solely because of their sexual orientation, saying all the services need their expertise and commitment.
Focus on the Family issued a statement through its sister organization and advocacy arm, CitizenLink. That organization said its concern is about forcing military chaplains and other service members to choose between service to their country and faithfulness to their religious beliefs.
“We’ve already seen in this debate that chaplains may be limited in what they can say about same-sex marriage and what the Bible says about homosexuality,” said Ashley Horne in a written statement. Horne is the federal policy analyst for CitizenLink. “Those who defend our country should be allowed the religious freedom upon which it was founded.”
Fritz said she would return to the service in a heartbeat and had a message for gays and lesbians considering joining the Army: “Be a soldier first. Be gay second.”