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Gays in the U.S. Military

Modifying/repealing "Don't ask,
don't tell" (DADT) in 2010

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The debate came to life during early 2010. Some events were:

bullet 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 forces." 1,2

bullet 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.

bullet 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."

CNN stated:
"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 the policy'."

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

bullet 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 DailyKosTV:

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Continued in the next file

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Chris McGreal, "Barack Obama promises to end gay army recruit ban," Guardian newspaper, 2010-JAN-28, at:>
  2. "Full text of Barack Obama's state of the union address," Guardian newspaper, 2010-JAN-28, at:
  3. Chad Groening, "Obama shows he's 'out of touch'," One News Now, 2010-JAN-29, at:
  4. "Don't ask, don't tell," Wikipedia, at
  5. Barbara Starr, "Pentagon plan on 'don't ask, don't tell' ready for Congress," CNN Politics, 2010-JAN-28, at:
  6. &"McCain vs. McCain vs. Adm. Mike Mullen on repealing 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell'," DailyKosTV, 2010-FEB-02, at:
  7. Tod Robberson, "Don't-ask, don't tell alternative," Dallas Morning News, 2010-FEB-03, at:

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Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality & Bisexuality > Challenges > DADT > here

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Copyright © 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerancebr
Originally written: 2010-JAN-28
Latest update: 2010-FEB-16
Author: B.A. Robinson

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