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Gays in the Military: Still Illegal for Time Being

4 years ago
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David Wood
Chief Military Correspondent
What happens now that Congress has voted to repeal the 'don't ask, don't tell' ban on gays in the military? Nothing.
For the next few months and possibly for as long as a year, gays and lesbians in uniform will still be subject to investigation and discharge if they acknowledge their sexual orientation, Pentagon officials said. Despite action in Congress to repeal it, the controversial policy banning gays from serving openly remains in effect until, in essence, until the Defense Department is good and ready to wipe if off the books.
The Pentagon issued a directive Saturday from its personnel chief, Clifford Stanley, alerting troops worldwide to the Senate vote to join the U.S. House in approving legislation to repeal DADT. The directive was expected to emphasize that the law itself has not been immediately repealed, and that the current regulations banning gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military remain in place.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates"Once this legislation is signed into the law by the president, the Department of Defense will immediately proceed with the planning necessary to carry out this change carefully and methodically, but purposefully," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Saturday. Change is coming, Gates said, but the current policy stays in place during an implementation process.
The law itself will not be effectively pulled down until the Pentagon has had a chance to adjust regulations that relate to same-sex partners, including next-of-kin notification, family access to commissaries and military fitness centers, health insurance and other benefits.
The Defense Department also plans to conduct training of all military personnel to emphasize current standing orders that every member is to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of gender, religion, color and other differences.
When all that is completed -- a process that Gates has said could take up to a year -- actual repeal won't happen until the president, the Secretary of Defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff all certify that it will not negatively affect combat readiness.

Even then – still not done. According to the repeal legislation, a 60-day waiting period will follow the formal certification. At the end of those two months, gays and lesbians will be able to serve openly in the armed services without discrimination.

Until then, "don't ask, don't tell" will remain in effect -- it's still the law,'' Pentagon spokesman Col. David Lapan told reporters Friday.

Gates has promised that the Pentagon won't "slow-roll'' this process -- because the number one advocate pushing for repeal of the gay ban is the commander in chief, sitting in the White House. President Obama, Gates has said, will be keeping "a keen eye'' on the Pentagon's progress as it works to carry out a new policy.
The Pentagon plan to implement the historic change is laid out like a military campaign, with stages and steps and benchmarks -- although it is vague about how long it will take.
The implementation phase, the plan says, "would last until some point after the effective date of repeal, once the roll-out of new policies has been completed." During implementation, the Defense Department and the Armed Services would finalize the new policies and then begin "education and training programs necessary to prepare the force for repeal and to communicate the upcoming policy changes." After all of that, "upon the effective date of repeal," the military "would put any new or revised policies into effect.''
Of course, all this careful fandango could be thrown into chaos if federal courts conclude that DADT is unconstitutional and order an immediate lifting of the ban. That could come as early as this spring, when a U.S. appellate court is expected to rule on a lower court finding that DADT is unconstitutional and should be immediately lifted. That order has been stayed pending the review by the 9th District Court of Appeals.

Until then, gays and lesbians in the military are being advised to continue to serve under cover. The mechanisms to discharge them are still in place, although no gays or lesbians have actually been discharged under new regulations put in place by Defense Secretary Gates in October, making the discharge process more cumbersome and time consuming.
Tagged: Robert Gates

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Am a vet of desert storm and had lots of gay soldiers next to me and was proud to serve with them, their sexual preference never made a difference to me. They were good soldiers, period.

December 19 2010 at 11:59 AM

Every group that has been held back through the years in this country has had to make their voice heard in order to facilitate change. Women have had to work for equal rights, which they still do not have, but they can now vote. Pay still not equal. If the Blacks had sat back and kept quiet, would things have ever changed for them? If homosexuals want to sign up and fight for this country, praise be to them. It is their lives they are willing to sacrifice. How many of you protestors are willing to do that??? When will this hatred end??

December 19 2010 at 11:55 AM

They got by under DADT by successfully disguising their life style; others could only guess but not respond negatively. The military has been sorting them out for years and will continue to do so—by using different reasons for discharging them. However, by admitting their life style they will be exposing themselves to taunting, bullying, and perhaps even physical harm when away from authority. That is the real problem

December 19 2010 at 11:54 AM

We were in the same league of countries like Iran, North Korea ,Saudi Arabia etc who also have bans on gay people in the military. It is nice to see that even though excruciatingly slowly, we will join the ranks of modern ,civilized western nations for whom discrimination of civil rights for some of their citizens is illegal. Sad to see that onbly 6 Republicans were on board and that even McCain who pledged to repeal in his campaign lied through his teeth then and voted against it now.

December 19 2010 at 11:51 AM +1

How stupid can Congress be (well we all know the answer to that) continuing the Don't Ask Don't tell policy in the military. I mean if gays are already in the military how hypocritical is all this?? What is the difference if they keep it a secret or they tell. I don't get it they are still gay. They have to live by the same code of ethics others do in whatever armed forces they belong to. If they are brave enough to sacrifice so much to fight for our country what does it matter. For some reason being Gay, to some people, is the worse thing in the world, well it is not. According to the Bible it says take the board out of your own eye before you take a speck out of someone else's. When Jesus came (oh can I say his name) who did he pick for his apostles, who was he defending when he said ye without sin cast the first stone, and who did he call hypocrites??? Being a hypocrite is just as bad as anything else. So stop appeasing the Republican Christian voters. I am a Christian (which probably after this comment I will be considered not one) but I feel a person's sexual orientation should not even be a political issue nor should abortion. With the economy in the toilet and the war that seems to go on forever this is what we are all up in arms (no pun) about. Start working for the people, health care issues, fix this economy, create jobs, and be thankful that anyone would give up their life for this country especially with a Congress that has no respect for those in the military unless they are heterosexual.

December 19 2010 at 11:18 AM +2
Cliff Johnson

I have nothing against gays and support the fact that they should have their rights. However, there are certain situations that are not appropriate for everyone to engage in and this happens to be one. There are many drawbacks to it:
When I was in the Army, there were open showering, open sleeping quarters whereby there were 2 people bunking (bottom and top) in open barracks. You may be taking showers with several people at one time. This does not contribute to a healthy environment especially for such an important mission as given to the military. Whether those encironments exist today I do not know. The real sad part of it is that those congressmen and president that supports the issue have never been in the military and have no clue as to the affect it may have on their mission. Instead they dodged the draft or went off to Harvard and got an educational deferment when there was a draft. It is abvious that Senator McCain knows what he is talking about by being a soldier and experiencing the situation and by opposing it. I will venture to predict that this will have an adverse affect on the mission and result in many problem areas such as increased friendly fire accidents, discipline, and complaints of prejudice when it comes to denying promotions and other rewards. One last comment: I would compare this situation to allowing both the male and female soldiers to live in the same barracks; however, that is not allowed.

December 19 2010 at 11:17 AM -3

Get ready for the DRAFT!

December 19 2010 at 10:55 AM +5
2 replies to Jim's comment

There SHOULD be a draft. Every young person SHOULD serve,

December 19 2010 at 11:00 AM +7
Georgie Boy

I'm all for it and not just for the men. Both sexes should be included in it. Then maybe the young people will have more respect for their country.

December 19 2010 at 11:20 AM +5

No big surprise that I disagree.

I wonder though... how many military chaplains will be told - Don't speak on this message, it goes against your beliefs, but you aren't allowed to teach on any passages of the bible that might offend those coming in - after all, it could be interpreted as "hate speech."

I've studied the verses and looked at them from several points of view in the bible and the criticisms are well answered. for those willing to look at the critics answered regarding homosexuality.

I can see it weakening the military becasue there are those who do believe that homosexuality is a behavior issue rather than a gentic one (and rightly so if one is being intellectualy honest when lookiing at research as to the science and even as to why it was removed from the DSM to begin with.) There are those will not reup when the time comes around, so I wonder if more will leave over this issue than those who are gay who will enlist?

Homosexuality isn't about who you are, it's about what you do.

It seems that in many ways, this is all about being able to announce your sexuality, not about your skills in defending your country. Up until now, a person could serve and do their job without it being an issue, which is why DADT was around. Now, those who announce it will be looked at differently, and for that matter basing their lives by what they do in bed, rather than being concerned about how they serve. To repeat a quote I did think was really good on the matter, "it may be that gays and lesbians may want stick with don't ask, don't tell if they want their military record to speak for itself, and not their sexual orientation."

December 19 2010 at 10:46 AM -2

It is about time that our Government shows the public how to stand on the truth. These politicians that think it is ok to lie about who you are, show their lack of truth, why? I think this says alot about their character, and actually is a control issue on the republican party. It shows the lack of ability to do the right thing because of how others look at the issue. That to me is a weakness, and I hate to think that our gov't will fold on an issue if it is the right thing to do if others don't agree. Its about time to stand by the truth!!

December 19 2010 at 10:44 AM +1

Who cares what you sexual orientation is as long as you don't harrasss? Why would you need to announce it? Personally I would not be comfortable in common showers with someone of my sexual orientation getting their thrills but in the grand scheme of things I would just have to deal with it because it probably happens and is never known. Just keep your sexual preference to yourself and I will to.

December 19 2010 at 10:22 AM

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