“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is the policy currently in place concerning homosexuals’ service in the military. The policy has been a source of controversy since its inception. Put into place during President Clinton’s time in office, the policy was originally seen as a compromise between the prior absolute ban on gays in the military and a complete repeal.
A proposed repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was stopped in the Senate this past September after clearing the House of Representatives in May. According to the New York Times, the policy was then ruled unconstitutional by a California federal judge. Although “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” remains in effect right now due to a stay issued by a California court, CNN reports that the military has not discharged any one under DADT in several weeks.
Although many events have contributed to the current state of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the most important have occurred very recently. Here are three events that have made a huge impact on DADT:
Log Cabin Republicans VS. United States
A lawsuit by an organization of gay Republicans in 2004 was finally brought to trial in 2010. The lawsuit challenged the constitutionality of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” DADT was determined by the judge to be unconstitutional, as shown in this document.
CNN Research Poll
Public opinion has turned more favorable for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” According to a poll released in November 2010, 72 percent of Americans favor gays openly serving in the military. The changing of Americans’ minds concerning gay service in the military and DADT should be of immense importance to the future of the policy.
The Pentagon conducted a large-scale survey to determine the effect a repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would have on the military. The report found that gays could be open in the military without endangering missions. It also concluded the repeal would not cause a huge disruption for service-members.
As demonstrated by the judge’s ruling of the Log Cabin Republican’s lawsuit, public opinion in the CNN poll, and the results of the Pentagon Report, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” should be repealed. Although an initial uproar may exist from groups opposing the repeal, the fallout would probably fizzle out quickly.
DADT was a needed policy that has built a bridge from the previous law to today. It is no longer relevant. The American Psychology Association has stated, “the US military is capable of integrating members of groups historically excluded from its ranks, as has been demonstrated by its success of reducing both racial and gender discrimination,” and it will again adapt to the allowance of openly gay service members in the military.
As the military has shown by not discharging anyone under “Don’t Ask, Don’t tell” in recent weeks, it is already well on its way.