Dont Ask Dont Tell
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Don't Ask Don't Tell is a military compromise with congress concerning the device of gay and lesbian soldiers. The law states that gay and lesbian soldiers can serve provided they do not reveal their sexual orientation. The military's position is that gay and lesbian soldiers represent a detriment to good order, discipline and unit cohesion. Gay and lesbian soldiers state that open service would not harm any of those items.
The Don't Ask Don't Tell law was passed by congress and signed by President Clinton in the 1993. Since that time, thousands of soldiers have been kicked out of the service for their sexual orientation. President Obama vowed to repeal the law and allow open service in 2010.
Don't Ask Don't Tell Law
The democratic congress tried to repeal the law by attaching it to the Defense Authorization Bill. The Republicans filibustered and it failed to achieve the necessary 60 votes to pass. Many of these senators had expressed a desire to repeal the law but could not allow a democratic win politically.
It seems the most likely avenue for rollback of this law will come in the courts. Two recent cases have made big strides.
- First is the case of Log Cabin Republicans Vs United States of America. This ruling stated that the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy is discriminatory and unconstitutional.
- The second ruling was the case of Margaret Witt. Major Witt was an Air Force nurse. She was a highly trained officer who was discharged in 2004.
- The judge in this case ruled that the Air Force was required to reinstate her to her previous position.
- This ruling places the burden on the military to prove that a soldier's sexual orientation is detrememtal to unit cohesion.
- It also found that the act of removing Major Witt is what caused loss of morale and unit effectiveness.
- No longer can the military state that a soldier's orientation alone is grounds for dismissal.
The future of Don't Ask Don't Tell
Hopefully in the near future congressional republicans will have the courage to repeal this immoral and unconstitutional law. Unfortunately at this time the Department of Justice still plans to appeal these rulings.