Local soldiers weigh-in on Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal

FORT LEE, VA (WWBT) - President Barack Obama has formally repealed the ban on gays serving openly in the military. The move has many local soldiers talking about the topic.

"I support it. It's okay with me. You know we still have a job to do. We're going to continue to do our job regardless," said PFC Justin Harvey.

Petty First Class Justin Harvey and Jorge Perez say gays serving openly is a non-issue.

"I'm not really concerned with it. I don't really care about it. I know it brings up a lot of issues - sensitive feelings about the situation," said Perez.

On Friday, President Obama repealed the policy certifying the change would not adversely affect the military.

"It's one soldier, one fight. We're all on the same team," said Perez.

NBC12 found several soldiers who say Don't Ask, Don't Tell should stay in place. None wanted to speak on camera except one soldier who ask we not reveal her identity. The unidentified soldier has served two tours in Iraq. She's an officer and has a strong view on gays serving openly in the military.

Nicole Bell: "You prefer Don't Ask, Don't Tell to stay in place?"
Unidentified Soldier: "Yes, I do. The way I look at it -- it would cause animosity. People would be looking at it like, you see him and him or her and her, and it breaks down morale of the Army and people can't focus like they should."

In a statement President Obama said, "As of Sept. 20th service members will no longer be forced to hide who they are in order to serve our country."

Since 1993, there have been more than 13,000 service men and women discharged under the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.

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