Panetta: DADT Repeal No Big Deal
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that military leaders have concluded last year’s repeal of DADT has not had any effect on readiness or morale.
“My view is that the military has kind of moved beyond it. It’s become part and parcel of what they’ve accepted within the military,” Panetta told reporters during a Pentagon press conference.
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also said he had seen no negative effects on military order or discipline.
“What were we afraid of is we didn’t know,” Dempsey said when asked why military officials were so worried about the repeal before it took effect. “I think that the way we were given a year to make this assessment to educate ourselves to collaborate, to build the sense of trust on this issue, and given that time to do it, I think it worked out well.”
There has been only one serious incident involving anti-gay sentiment to have occurred in the military since the repeal, and that is currently under investigation.
Despite religious conservatives saying that the lifting of DADT would lead to religious beliefs being stifled, no such complaints have surfaced. This religious conservatives have brushed this off as being a result of President Obama’s administration somehow censoring reports.
Despite a lack of evidence that any such religious discrimination is occurring in the military, the US House this week advanced legislation to make explicit a religious right to condemn gay soldiers and another amendment to prevent chaplains from being able to officiate same-sex weddings on base or through using military facilities.
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue” was enacted by the Clinton administration in 1993 as a compromise to try and repeal the complete ban on gay servicemembers. DADT was supposed to mean that so long as soldiers didn’t disclose their sexuality they would be allowed to serve. However, there is evidence the military frequently flouted the “do not pursue” portion of that law, which led to increased discharges and abuses in the miltiary.
Obama, together with bipartisan support in Congress, has made ending DADT a hallmark of his first term as President.