The controversial policy concerning gays and lesbians serving in the military, called “don’t ask don’t tell,” has been repealed by officials at the Pentagon. President Obama confirmed that the policy has been rescinded.
White House certifies repeal of DADT
The controversial “don’t ask don’t tell ” policy, also referred to as DADT, has been in effect since the Clinton administration, and has been a lightning rod for debate since it was implemented. The policy said if any person actively serving in the armed forces was found to be a homosexual, that person would be discharged. Arizona senator Barry Goldwater, known as “Mr. Conservative,” famously quipped “they only need to be able to shoot straight” when it was passed, according to Wikipedia. However, Congress voted to overturn DADT last year, and the Pentagon has just finalized the repeal process, according to CNN. President Obama confirmed that DADT had been repealed at the White House.
Last days of controversial policy
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen confirmed with the president that the rules creating DADT had been rescinded, according to the Los Angeles Times. Don’t ask don’t tell will officially cease to exist as the policy of the armed forces 60 days from the confirmation of the repeal of the rules that instituted the policy. Opponents of repeal have long insisted that allowing gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military would inhibit “military readiness” as their sexual orientation could prove a distraction and affect morale, according to Fox News, but Pentagon officials don’t agree with that viewpoint. On Sept. 20, the policy will come to an end, bringing about what some see as the greatest victory for equality and civil rights in the armed forces since Harry Truman ordered racial segregation to end in the military after World War II.
Defense of Marriage Act next
Lawmakers are next said to be looking at repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, the law ensuring that the federal government does not have to recognize a same-sex marriage. The White House, according to the Washington Post, supports repeal of DOMA; President Obama believes the law is not constitutionally justified. Earlier this year, the president ordered that the Department of Justice stop defending DOMA in federal court after a couple of legal defeats on constitutional grounds. Social conservatives are up in arms over what some perceive on an assault on family values, but LGBT activists and civil libertarians assert that DOMA creates a second class of citizens and should be done away with.
Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-obama-gays-military-20110722,0,6542197.story?track=rss
Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/07/22/obama-ends-gays-in-military-ban-sources-say/
Barry Goldwater on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Goldwater
Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/white-house-backs-bill-overturning-federal-defense-of-marriage-act/2011/07/19/gIQApMR9NI_story.html
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