Tag Archive: military


The End of DADT

Well there you have it, queer kids.

This past Tuesday marked the official end of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.  While the paperwork for the repeal was dealt with months ago, the armed forces have finally made all the necessary preparations, hosting training for their officers, and finished the legwork to transition their troops to a truly inclusive mode of operation.  I couldn’t be happier to see the outpouring of support and publicity for the many brave soldiers who are starting to come out to their units, their families, and their friends.  It’s truly awesome.

OutServe Magazine has put together a beautiful set of 101 pictures and profiles from some of these service members, and I highly suggest you check it out.

It’s unfortunate that at the same time, many of the Presidential candidates are talking about rolling back the progress that LGBT citizens and soldiers have made, by threatening to re-institute the policy if they were to win the presidency.  For the most part, I think that their talk is a lot of hot air, but it upsets me all the same to see MY SENATOR talking such ignorance at the GOP primary debate.

 

I hope you’ll join me in saying that we are proud of the people who serve our country, and that we never want to see discriminatory measures like DADT put in place again.

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So who’s heard the good news?  In a surprise move after the rider on the defense budget was struck in the Senate/House reconciliation of the bill, the House of Representatives introduced a stand-alone bill which dealt exclusively with repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  It passed the House last week and the Senate on Friday, officially ending the long-standing discriminatory policy.

But what does this mean?  For right now, the symbolism behind the act is HUGE, but the actual impact may be minimal for several more months.  There’s been a big push for a complete implementation of the policy within the first quarter of 2011 and an 80  page manual for dealing with the policy implementation has been published by the Defense Department.  These are good first steps, however, the way the repeal bill is written will slow the process for beginning implementation.

The New York Times explains: “Under the terms of the legislation that passed the Senate on Saturday and the House earlier last week, the Defense Department will not carry out the repeal until Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates , Mr. Obama and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “certify” that the military is ready to make the change. After that, the legislation requires a 60-day period before the change takes place.”

I highly recommend you read up on the language of the bill and how it handles procedural and policy decisions regarding soldiers in this same article.

Regardless of the stall in implementation, I’m incredibly thankful that we have senators courageous enough to take on this bill as a stand-alone and finally allow LGBT men and women to serve openly in the Armed Forces.

For those of you who haven’t heard, the vote on repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is rapidly approaching.   Here’s a quick history and policy update:

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was implemented during the Clinton years as a political compromise to allowing LGBT Americans to serve in the Armed Forces.  Previous to the policy, service member applicants had to openly declare their sexuality in order to joined the armed forces (and obviously, gays were excluded from eligibility).  Clinton ran a campaign promising full acceptance of gays and lesbians in the military but recieved major political backlash during his term in office and a promise from Congress that such an executive order would never go through.

Instead, Clinton offered an alternative- to allow gay servicemen and women to participate in the military as long as they did not publicly disclose their LGBT identity.  The US military is the only branch of government that maintains a discriminatory policy against gays and lesbians.

Mercifully, repealing the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy is not a one-shot decision.  The amendment is attached as a rider to the Military Spending Budget for this year, so if the budget passes, so does the amendment.  However, there is the potential for either chamber of congress to call a vote to remove the amendment with the clause about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell- which, if it passes, another vote would then be taken to approve the budget without the amendment.  If the DADT amendment (or any amendment, for that matter) is stricken from the bill, however, the entire budget must be returned to the other chamber of congress for re-approval.

So LGBT supporters have two things to keep them positive- one, repealing the policy is an amendment, rather than a seperate bill, which is attached to a crucial buget.  This is wonderful because budgets are often heavily compromised-upon documents, and removing an amendment could upset the political balance which allows it to pass.  Thus, it is dangerous politically to suggest removing an amendment for  fear of bringing attention to your opposition’s less-desirable components of the bill.  Two, because the bill is so important to get through efficiently (it does, after all, control the spending for the entire US military), Congress will not want to repeat the time-consuming process of reconciling two different versions of the budget bill.

If you’d like a little more information, CNN did a decent cover on the upcoming vote and the political controversy surrounding it:  http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/living/2010/06/24/obrien.dadt.whats.next.cnn.

Your thoughts?  Any potential military recruits out there?  How will this effect your future?  If the bill (god forbid), does not pass, would you still offer your services to the US military?

Also, this offers a great segway for my next post, which will be about living closeted.  Give me feedback, dahlings.

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