The Don't Ask Don't Tell policy (DADT) was repealed after a 17 year battle. Starting September 20, 2011 lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, and gays can serve openly in the military, but still they are not treated equally.
ACTIONS NECESSARY FOR LGBT SERVICEMEMBERS TO BE TREATED EQUALLY
The repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) means that servicemembers can be open about their sexuality, but it does not mean that they will be treated equally in the military.
Here are the main actions still needed for equality:
1. Enact legislation that specifically protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation/gender identity in the military
2. Revise the Department of Defense Equal Opportunity Policy to add sexual orientation and gender identity
3. Amend military medical and uniform regulations that discriminate transgender servicemembers. We include this as part of the Freedom of Gender equality goal.
4. Depenalize sodomy as ruled by the US Supreme Court in Lawrence v
Texas by revoking article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice
(UCMJ). Congress needs to revoke article 125 as the military has been
requesting for years.
Equality in the military will require Congress to act again, otherwise a future administration could ban LGBT members from serving by using a directive from the Department of Defense---without need for an act of Congress or an Executive Order from the President.
If Congress doesn't act, another venue is the successful lawsuit that the Log Cabin Republicans are pursuing with the intention of proving to the Supreme Court if necessary that discrimination of LGBT people in the military is unconstitutional.
FOLLOWING UP ON FULL EQUALITY AFTER DADT
Check our up-to-date list of 49 issues pending for full LGBT equality in the military after the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. This is an important resource for the community. Many of the pending issues are related to the existence of the Defense of Marriage Act.
The information on the rest of this page outlines some of the arguments and work that was done to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell.
PASSING OF THE LEGISLATION TO REPEAL DON'T ASK DON'T TELL (DADT)
On December 15, 2010, the House of Representatives voted to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) (HR 2965) by a vote of 250 to 175. In favor: 235 Democrats and 15 Republicans. Opposed: 15 Democrats and 160 Republicans. Abstained: 5 Democrats and 4 Republicans.
On December 18, 2010, the Senate voted 65 to 33 to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell. In favor were all Democratic Senators (except for Joe Manchin (D-WV) who was absent. Also in favor were the two independent Senators (Joe LIberman (I-CT), who sponsored the final legislation), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Also in favor were 8 Republicans: Richard Burr (R-NC), Scott Brown (R-MA), Susan Collins (R-ME), John Ensign (R-NV), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), George Voinovich (R- OH). Absent from the vote: Joe Manchin (D-WV), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Jim Bunning (R-KY), and Judd Gregg (R-NH).
On December 22, 2010, President Obama signed the legislation repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell.
On July 22, 2011, President Obama, the Secretary of Defense, and the
Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff have certified that repeal will not
affect the troops. They took this step as required by the Don't Ask Don't Tell Repeal Act after completion of writing new military regulations and training of all the troops had
Finally, after a 60 day waiting period required by the Don't Ask Don't Tell Repeal Act, the repeal
took full effect on September 20, 2011.
This completed 17 years of hard work by many organizations funded by many generous donors.
DON'T ASK DON'T TELL (DADT) DURING THE 2008 CAMPAIGN
The 2008 platform of the Democratic Party states: "We support the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and the implementation of policies to allow qualified men and women to serve openly regardless of sexual orientation." The 2004 platform also asked (in weaker terms) the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.
President Obama and VP Biden also supported the repeal of this policy during the presidential campaign.
LIFT BAN ON GAYS IN THE MILITARY: AS RECOMMENDED BY SENIOR OFFICERS
Lifting of the DADT ban is supported by Secretary of Defense Gates and Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff Mullen.
The Pentagon did a thorough examination of the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. Check here all the work done including a final report and implementation guidelines.
Also read the report (pdf file) of The Generals/Flag Officers Study Group recommending repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Page 2 contains 10 findings and 4 recommendations which are very worthwhile reading.
LIFT BAN ON GAYS IN THE MILITARY: SAFE FOR LEGISLATORS
Polls consistently show that about two thirds of the American public support lifting the ban. Polls show majority support in all age groups, in both genders, an in both political parties.
LIFT BAN ON GAYS IN THE MILITARY: FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE
The Pentagon has spent more than $364 million to implement the ban in the first ten years of its existence (according to a Blue Ribbon Commission sponsored by the University of California, February 2006).
LIFT BAN ON GAYS IN THE MILITARY: IMPROVE NATIONAL SECURITY
Lifting the ban ensures that Arabic linguists and other critical specialists are not fired for being gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Lifting the ban protects 65,000 service members from being fired by the largest employer in the country for being lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
WHO TO SUPPORT AND FUND
- Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN)
Since its founding in 1993, SLDN has been the leading organization working to allow LGBTQ patriots to serve openly in the US military. In addition, SLDN provides direct legal services to members of the armed forces affected by Don't Ask, Don't Tell, including transgender military servicemembers.
- Palm Center - Formerly the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military (CSSMM).
The Palm Center uses rigorous social science to study the flawed rationale behind Don't Ask, Don't Tell and then aggressively distributes its research to military audiences during annual visits to West Point, the Army War College, the Air Force Academy, the Naval Academy and elsewhere.
Founded in late 2009 and early 2010, OutServe is the association of actively-serving LGBT military personnel.
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