Barry Winchell was murdered 11 years ago at Fort Campbell, Kentucky as a result of harassment that was allowed to escalate to violence after another soldier had heard a rumor Winchell was gay.
Winchell's parents, Wally and Pat Kutteles, have posted an editorial at CNN urging the Senate to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell":
"DADT amounts to an endorsement of harassment and discrimination. It says to other service members that gays in the military are second-class citizens, that they are not worthy of the respect dictated in the Army's values. Those who assert that the law serves to protect gays in the military are wrong — it corroborates the fears and bigotry of those who are anti-gay. Worse, it encourages those who are prone to violence to act on their rage.
Our son could be with these brothers and sisters in arms today, but he was taken from us just as he was beginning to realize his dream. He was a quiet, compassionate and strong young man — the kind of dedicated soldier our country needs as we fight two wars. Nothing will replace him. Nothing will take away the pain that haunts us to this day."