Childhood friend of John McCain’s: Time to end DADT

After reading what John McCain has in common with Beth Coye and for him to still oppose allowing gays and lesbians to openly serve, one can only come to the conclusion John McCain has little to no conscience.


ALMOST 70 years ago, Johnny McCain and Beth Coye, ages 5 and 4, played together on the sands of the Panama Canal Zone. Their mothers, Roberta and Betty, were part of the Navy’s submarine family and no doubt were discussing the possibility of their husbands going off to war as the children frolicked in the sands.


Today, they are leaders on opposite sides of the debate over repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT), the 1993 law that prohibits gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the U.S. armed forces. Sen. McCain argues the policy “works well for the military” and to repeal it is far too risky, especially in the middle of two wars. A retired naval commander, Coye, argues with equal conviction the policy undermines the ability of the armed forces to accomplish its mission effectively due to the enforced discharge of top-performing soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and coasties who happen to be gay or lesbian, as well as the integrity of individual service members — both gay and straight.

John is ranking member of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee. I am Beth, who served most of my naval career as a closeted lesbian. Since then, I have been a political-science professor, an author, and an unpaid but ardent advocate for why DADT must be repealed. Last spring, I edited “We Are Family Too,” a book of 37 powerful letters written by former or retired military personnel who are gay or lesbian. The book reached the highest offices in our government.

The experts have spoken time and again in our favor. The majority of the American people are on the side of fairness and equality. John McCain needs to honestly ask himself how much of this battle is about a bruised ego from his failed attempt to become our nation’s commander-in-chief, and how much is honestly about the rational and logical decision to support our nation’s security by repealing the odious and unconscionable DADT law.

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