(Waymon Hudson for RedEye)
A key milestone in the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) has just occurred as President Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen formally issued their certification to the Armed Services committees of both houses of Congress, signifying that the military is ready for the end of the ban on gays and lesbian serving in the military. In 60 days, repeal of DADT will be final, as prescribed in the law passed by Congress and signed by the President last December.
Army Veteran and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis applauded the historic move:
“The final countdown to repeal begins today. Service members celebrate this historic announcement, and they are ready for this change. Our nation’s top military leaders have testified that commanders see no significant challenges ahead, and now the President, Secretary Panetta, and Chairman Mullen have certified to Congress that the armed forces are prepared for the end of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’”
Sarvis also called for further action, asking for the President to issue an executive order prohibiting discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the military, which would give servicemembers recourse against harassment. SLDN also reminded the public that despite the certification issued today, it is still unsafe for service members to come out until September 20, 2011, when repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will become final.
Still, this is a huge moment in the slow demise of DADT. OutServe, the association of actively-serving LGBT military personnel, issued this statement:
“This day has been a long time in coming. Soon, we will see that gay and lesbian troops demonstrate the same professionalism that is the hallmark of our armed forces, and that all military personnel will prove more professional than some have given them credit for. Through our work with the Pentagon, we are confident they have worked hard to devise smart policies as we move forward. As we move forward, what matters most is leadership.”
In 60 days, the bigoted ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law will be finally be history. It’s about damn time.
This is a RedEye community blog. The views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the author and not those of RedEye or Tribune Company.