Modifying/repealing "Don't ask,
don't tell" (DADT) in 2010-JAN/FEB
The debate came to life during early 2010. Some events were:
2010-JAN-27: President Obama commits to ending "Don't Ask, Don't
Tell (DADT):" In his State of the Union address to
Congress, President Obama promised to work toward abolishing the secrecy
about sexual orientation in the military. Near the end of his speech, sandwiched between a mention of
increased effort to prosecute civil rights infractions, and discussion of
equal pay for women, President Obama referred to two LGBT priorities: the
recently passed hate-crimes law and
the proposed repeal of DADT. He said:"We finally strengthened our laws
to protect against crimes driven by hate. This year, I will work with
Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay
Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.
It's the right thing to do."
Robert Gates, defense secretary,
enthusiastically applauded. The armed forces representatives sat
expressionless. General John Shalikashvili, the current joint chiefs
chairperson, had also called for an end to the ban two years ago when he
said: "I now believe that if gay men and lesbians served openly in the
United States military, they would not undermine the efficacy of the armed
2010-JAN-29: One News Now incorrectly reports DADT regulation. They reported that the law "... strictly
prohibits homosexuals from serving in the military." It doesn't. That was the situation before DADT was implemented. DADT actually
prohibits openly gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals from serving. The operative word here is "openly." Any person with a lesbian, gay, or
bisexual orientation can serve if they simply keep quite about their sexual orientation and never engage in or express an interest in
same-sex sexual behavior. Of course they will live in fear of being outed as long as they remain in the military. But they are currently free to serve with
these limitations. We have sent the author of this news report an Email asking for a correction and a acknowledgment of receipt of our Email. We expect neither 3
The same article quotes Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military
Readiness, as saying that President Obama is off base with the nation's
concerns. She said:
"First of all, there is no big push for gays in the military. For him to say
'finally repeal this law on gays in the military,' he's really out of touch."
A Google search shows 404,000 hits for a search of "dadt." Various polls show support for the repeal of
DADT at up to 81%. That would seem to
indicate a substantial interest. According to Wikipedia, 12,961 service people
were given dishonorable discharges between 1993 and 2008 because they had a
homosexual or bisexual orientation. 4 That is a
substantial number of individuals. DADT has been in place for sixteen years. That
would seem to justify his use of the word "finally."
She continues: "Secondly, he seems to be looking at this issue as if it has to
do with civil rights. The law clearly states that there is no constitutional
right to be in the armed forces." She is not considering the rights of currently
serving military personnel who may be outed, given a dishonorable discharge, and
ejected from the military. This employment history will seriously and adversely
affect their future as long as they live. They may lose all of their benefits.
2010-FEB-02: Plans to cancel DADT: Defense Department
officials have announced on JAN-27 that they will be presenting a plan
before the Senate Armed Services Committee on FEB-02 when the
fiscal year 2001 defense budget is discussed. They will outline how they
intend on implementing Obama's call to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Pentagon
press secretary Geoff Morrell said on JAN-28 that: "The Defense
Department leadership is actively working on an implementation plan and the
secretary will have more to say about this next week."
"Some Congressional opposition already is clear.
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, a former Navy pilot, released a statement after
Wednesday night's State of the Union address saying 'it would be a mistake'
to repeal the law."
" 'This successful policy has been in effect for over 15 years, and it is
well understood and predominantly supported by our military at all levels,'
McCain's statement said, later adding: 'At a time when our Armed Forces are
fighting and sacrificing on the battlefield, now is not the time to abandon
Gen. John Shalikashvili, former chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, said it was time to repeal the law.
"As a nation built on the principal of equality, we should recognize and
welcome change that will build a stronger more cohesive military,"
Shalikashvili said in a letter sent to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, (D-New
York), who supports repealing the policy.
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an organization that
works with those affected by the "don't ask, don't tell" law, praised
Obama's call for repeal.
"We very much need a sense of urgency to get this done
in 2010," the group said, later adding: "The American public, including
conservatives, is overwhelmingly with the commander in chief on this one." 5
2010-FEB-02: Senator John McCain does flop-flop on DADT: In 2006,
Senator McCain stated: "The day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says,
'Senator, we ought to change the policy,' then I think we ought to consider
seriously changing it." That day has come. However, Senator McCain has
since reversed his stance. 6 According to