The official repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) will go into effect today. For nearly two decades, the policy forced lesbian, gay, and bisexual service people to keep their sexual orientation a secret or face possible expulsion from the military. Pentagon press secretary George Little indicated that the military is prepared for the repeal of DADT with approximately 97 percent of military personnel undergoing training regarding the new law, according to CBS. Events will be held in all 50 states commemorating the repeal of DADT.
Aubrey Sarvis, Executive Director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), stated, “Today marks the official end of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and is an historic milestone along the journey to achieving LGBT equality in America’s military. Thanks to veterans, active duty, leaders, allies and supporters everywhere, this is a monumental day for our service members and our nation. Indeed, we have taken a tremendous leap forward for LGBT equality in the military.”
DADT was instituted by former President Bill Clinton in 1993 and prohibits the military from inquiring about a service member’s sexual orientation, and also calls for the discharge of anyone who acknowledges being lesbian or gay. According to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, more than 14,000 men and women have been discharged in the policy’s history.
SLDN Statement 9/20/11; CBS 9/20/11; The Task Force Statement; Feminist Daily Newswire 7/25/11