Service Chiefs to Certify “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal?
Multiple sources indicate that service chiefs will certify the repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay service personnel, ”Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), on Friday.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are recommending to President Obama that he proceed with final repeal of the nearly two-decade-old policy, the officials said.
Repeal of the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly will thus be one of Panetta’s first major acts since taking office earlier this month. He replaced Robert M. Gates, who called for elimination of the policy but pushed for the process to be gradual.
Panetta met recently with the chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines about lifting the ban, officials said. Officials who confirmed the decision would not agree to be quoted by name because it had not been made public. Spokesmen for Panetta and Mullen declined to comment.
Certification will not mean openly gay and lesbian soldiers will be accepted into the military immediately.
After certification, a sixty-day congressional review period must expire before the repeal goes into effect. On the provision that the repeal is certified Friday, July 22, an official repeal date if all goes to plan would be September 20.
What does this mean for the lawsuit the Log Cabin Republicans v. United States that has already seen an end to DADT discharges via a court injunction? The Log Cabin Republicans assert that because DADT does not carry a nondiscrimination policy lesbian and gay service personnel are still vulnerable because it means that while institutionalized homophobia will no longer be allowed, there’s still a chance that lesbian and gay soldiers may be discriminated against by individual commanding officers without being able to explicitly report such discrimination. This, they offer, means the court case is still viable and so that fight goes on.