Washington, D.C. — Today our nation’s military leaders are expected to officially indicate that allowing gay men and women to serve openly in the armed forces will not impair our military’s effectiveness, readiness, or unit cohesion by certifying the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell." Winnie Stachelberg, Senior Vice President for External Affairs at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement on the anticipated certification, after months of training and preparation for repeal within the military:
For nearly 18 years, DADT has weakened our national security and wasted resources by discharging more than 14,000 service members from our armed forces, many of whom had critical language and technical skills. The policy forced gay people to live a lie if they wanted to serve their country and in an institution whose core values include integrity and honesty.
We hope that a certification announcement by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta will be followed by President Barack Obama’s certification, and we are grateful for their tremendous work on this issue, alongside members of both parties in Congress. We also want to acknowledge the professionalism with which service members—gay and straight—have handled the repeal training. It is a testament to their character, and we are grateful for their service.
Last December the House and Senate passed, and President Obama signed, a bill to repeal DADT. The bill stipulated that the military’s ban on open service would officially end 60 days following our military leaders’ certification. If the president were to issue his certification today on the heels of Secretary Panetta and Admiral Mullen, gay men and women can begin serving openly on September 20, 2011.
To speak to CAP experts on this topic, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202.481.8181.