Center for American Progress

It’s Time to Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
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It’s Time to Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

The Pentagon working group should lead the process of informing how the military should go about implementing the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

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After President Barack Obama declared his intention to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that prohibits gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military this year, the Pentagon initiated a working group to determine how to implement the repeal. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates noted in his testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this year that, “the question before us is not whether the military prepares to make this change, but how we best prepare for it.” In keeping with this goal, members in both the House and Senate have moved forward with legislation to repeal this discriminatory law.

The U.S. military has discharged qualified, patriotic service members for 17 years solely on the basis of their sexual orientation. We have sent the message that the military is an intolerant place that does not value what Americans value, namely diversity, fairness, and equality, and that the military cares more about whether is person is straight than whether they can shoot straight.

The Pentagon working group should lead the process of informing how the military should go about implementing the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but Congress must also move forward now to provide the legal authority to ensure that the law is repealed this year and implemented upon successful completion of the working group’s study. This concurrent process would be in keeping with the president’s call to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this year and would be the most expeditious way to end this outdated, discriminatory policy.

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