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Gates Urges Repeal of DADT

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates urged Congress to repeal the so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy before the newly elected members take office next year. Nevertheless, Gates expressed doubt as to whether the repeal would occur this year. Aubrey Sarvis, Executive Director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network commented, “the Senate should call up the defense bill reported out of committee and pass it before it goes home for the year.” In early November, a federal appeals court three judge panel ruled that the US military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy will stand indefinitely until the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) appeals process concludes. In May, the Defense Spending Bill passed in the House but was filibustered in the Senate. The Bill contains an amendment by Representative Patrick Murphy (D-PA) that repeals “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” if the repeal is consistent with military readiness, effectiveness, and unit cohesiveness and the Department of Defense “has prepared the necessary policies and regulations to implement its repeal.” 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. Thus far, the policy has led to the expulsion of more than 13,000 troops.

Sources:

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network 11/8/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 11/2/10, 10/18/10