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'Don't ask' repeal passes... now what?

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Don't expect openly gay and lesbian Americans to start rushing today to military recruitment offices just because lawmakers voted Thursday to repeal "don't ask, don't tell." At best, opponents of the military's gay ban hope they can start reenlisting during the first quarter of next year.

President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen still have to sign off on a Pentagon study of how to integrate gays and lesbians. If they approve the plan, the Pentagon must draft changes to its personnel policy and Obama likely will have to sign an executive order banning discrimination against homosexuals -- similar to how Harry Truman integrated African Americans into the force.

The entire debate about gays in the military essentially reverts back to 1993, when Bill Clinton and lawmakers negotiated the "don't ask" compromise with military leaders. But this time the president, defense secretary and some (but not all) military leaders support enlisting openly gay Americans.

In the meantime, gay rights leaders said homosexuals currently serving in uniform need to be careful. Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a group pushing for repeal, sent an e-mail to members this week warning that “Lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members remain vulnerable to being discharged on the basis of their sexual orientation. While Congress is taking steps to enact a road map for full repeal and the implementation of open service, it is not safe to come out or serve openly until the process of repeal is complete.”

If/when the military lifts the ban, supporters anticipate 20 to 30 percent of service members discharged under the ban may reenlist. Former Air Force Captain and active SLDN member Mike Almy was discharged under the ban in 2006. He now works as a defense contractor, but said he’s still medically and physically qualified to serve in uniform.

“I come from a military family, this is all I want to do. I dedicated my whole life to being an officer,” Almy said.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

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By Ed O'Keefe  | May 28, 2010; 12:23 PM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Military  
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Comments

The homosexualization of America's military forces will be yet another nail in the coffin of the Obama administration.

Obama seems determined to do as much "progressive" damage to America, as he can, before he is booted out of office.

The big boot will start descending in November 2010. Not a moment too soon for most Americans.

Posted by: battleground51 | May 28, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Yes, battleground51 - I can see the seething hate you have for anything not white and faux christian. Get over it and get used to it sweetheart. We are not going away and there is NOTHING you can do.

Posted by: mjcc1987 | May 28, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

The real tragedy of the repeal is that although it may not be legal to discharge the employee, without full anti-discrimination legislation(updating Title VII to include GLBT) it remains totally legal to deny employment and to take discriminatory actions against GLBT employees. The gay rights folks should have pushed for the broader change - that protects all employees - rather than a single policy for a single employer.

Posted by: Metropolized | May 28, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

As a straight woman, I am overjoyed that our nation is finally taking steps to reverse this national shame of discrimination in our military. This is not just a small step, it's a broad-based swipe at an out-dated way of thinking of our fellow citizens. None of us are really free until EVERYONE is equal under the law. It's the beginning of the process of committing to do finally do right where we have been so wrong. I hope the pentagon acts quickly to restructure their agenda.

Posted by: madamezora | May 28, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Freedom for a gay person is being accepted as an ordinary person. Unfortunately many gay people feel they have to wear their 'gayness' on their sleeve and have no thought for the reasonable feelings of the community around them. As a father and a formerly married gay man I mix with a lot of people from a wide spectrum of social backgrounds. They know I am gay and if they have a swipe at me I swipe back in good faith. If very rarely it gets antagonistic I simply move away, they can't help their attitude and it is neither my right nor job to change it. In the last 20 years we have come a long long way. The community is relaxing, the gays should do the same!

Posted by: spirit2 | May 28, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Homophobia is as bad as racism. The House of Representatives has done the correct thing by advancing the bill which will repeal the intolerant 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' when Robert Gates, Mike Mullen and President Obama agree on the repeal of that horrible rule so that President can sign an executive order.

Posted by: LibertyForAll | May 28, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Every American who wants to serve should be allowed to serve, please don't bring back the draft...

Posted by: edmundsingleton1 | May 29, 2010 3:53 AM | Report abuse

When I served, decades ago, there was a gay soldier who was beaten up. I reported this to the military police only to learn later that the gay soldier was being put on charges for being gay, while the guys who beat him up were not being disciplined. I went to the Jag Office (military lawyers) and restated my report of the incident, saying they got it all wrong, and they asked me if I was a gay lover of the gay soldier.

Gay soldiers have long served our nation. We might not approve of their lifestyles, but heck, I don't approve of Islam, but I'm not going to shut it down just because it's not my cup of tea.

End the mindless prejudice, bring our military up, socially, to the 21st century. Prejudices are wrong, evil in fact.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | May 31, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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