Center for American Progress

The Senate Should Pass the Defense Bill and End “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
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The Senate Should Pass the Defense Bill and End “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

Once the Senate receives the Pentagon’s report it should act without delay to pass the National Defense Authorization Act and end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

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The Pentagon will soon release its comprehensive study on how to implement the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in the U.S. armed forces. This report should clear the way for the Senate to reconsider the fiscal year 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, which contains the language needed to end this unjust and unwise policy. The House already approved the act.

Since “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was instituted in 1993 more than 14,000 service members have been discharged under the policy. These discharges waste taxpayer dollars by kicking out troops our armed forces have already spent thousands and in some cases millions of dollars training. They also remove critical personnel from a military already stretched thin by persistent conflict.

Further, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” prevents some qualified service members who are not open about their sexual orientations from remaining in the armed forces. Research found that an average of about 4,000 service members each year would stay in the military if they were allowed to be open about their sexual orientation, including troops discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and service members who currently leave voluntarily because they are tired of living a lie.

Once the Senate receives the Pentagon’s report it should act without delay to pass the NDAA and end this unnecessary and unfair policy.

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