Saturday, July 23, 2011

The End of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Quickly Approaches

It's taken 18 years and roughly 14,000 unjust discharges from the US military, but "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is just about over.  Yesterday, President Obama certified that the US military is ready to repeal DADT and allow openly gay and lesbian soldiers and officers to serve outside the closet.  DADT will be officially dead on September 20, 2011:
The repeal of the ban, dubbed 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell', will now come into force in 60 days time, on September 20.

"Today, we have taken the final major step toward ending the discriminatory 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law that undermines our military readiness and violates American principles of fairness and equality," Mr Obama said in a statement.

He was speaking after signing a certification with Leon Panetta, the defence secretary, and Adm Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that the US military was ready to accept gay troops.

The ban was overturned in a law adopted in December that first required the top military officer, the defense secretary and the president to certify that the change would not harm military readiness and that the armed forces were ready to carry it out. In the interim, the Pentagon has drawn up new manuals and prepared the entire armed forces, some 2.3 million people who serve as both active troops and reservists, for the new policy.
Predictably, groups like the Alliance Defense Fund are flipping out and claiming that the religious liberties of heterosexual soldiers and officers are at risk because they can't discriminate against gay and lesbian soldiers and officers:
Our troops’ religious liberties are in unprecedented jeopardy because the government has caved in to pressure from small groups of activists to impose homosexual and bisexual behavior on our military,” said Daniel Blomberg, ADF's litigation staff counsel.

Blomberg continues, "No Americans, and especially not our troops, should be forced to abandon their religious beliefs.”
As if soldiers haven't been serving and fighting alongside gay and lesbian soldiers for nearly 20 years without violating their religious beliefs.  As if chaplains haven't been placed in the position of serving all military personnel, even those who hold different religious beliefs than them.  As if our US soldiers are so unpatriotic that they will not serve and protect their country if they also have to serve alongside uncloseted gay men and women.

As with all of these anti-gay culture war slippery slopes cry-a-thons, I predict that there will be a few isolated bumps once DADT officially ends.  And then people will realize that gay and hets can serve alongside each other without the benefit of a closet door.  Life will move on and thing will be fine.

1 comment:

Out Military said..., the social network for LGBT service members and their
supporters, is proud to support U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision
to certify the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.

This was, hands down, the right thing for the president to do. The
estimated 65,000 active-duty and reserve troops that bravely serve our
nation no longer have to do so in silence this September. The end of
DADT will bring equality to the ranks; an all volunteer force comprised
of Americans from every conceivable background – including lesbian women
and gay men. members are happy about Obama’s decision
to finally put an end to a discriminatory chapter in American military
history. provides a supportive environment for “friending,”
sharing and networking between active duty military, veterans and
supporters – around the world.