Today, the U.S. military’s 18-year-old ban on service by openly gay men and women, known as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, or DADT, finally comes to an end. Center for American Progress President and CEO John Podesta issued the following statement on the ability of gay men and women to now serve their country openly, honestly, and with full integrity:
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell weakened our national security, wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, and compromised our military’s core values of honesty and integrity. Along the way, it forced more than 14,000 qualified men and women out of the armed forces and many thousands more to serve silently in fear of being discovered. We are a stronger country today with the repeal of this outdated and ineffective law.
I want to thank President Obama for his leadership on this issue, as well as Secretaries of Defense Robert Gates and Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen for designing and overseeing a successful DADT repeal training and implementation plan.
With repeal finally going into effect, the United States now joins the ranks of 35 countries that permit gay men and women to serve openly and honestly in their armed forces, including close U.S. allies like the United Kingdom, Australia, and Israel.
Last December, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed into law the repeal of the DADT policy. The new law required members of the armed forces to undergo training about open service before DADT was fully repealed. This training has taken place over the past several months, and our military’s leaders recently certified that the troops are ready for open service.