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Tips on how to phase out 'don't ask, don't tell'

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

A gay rights group leading the charge to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy thinks the Pentagon should allow people discharged under the policy to easily reenlist if lawmakers include a repeal of the gay ban in this year's Defense authorization bill.

The Senate is expected to vote next week to repeal the Clinton-era policy banning gay and lesbian service members from serving openly in uniform. The bill includes language repealing the policy (and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said it likely will include an amendment to help young people in the country illegally become legal U.S. residents).

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which represents dozens of current and former service members impacted by the policy, this week sent formal recommendations to a Pentagon working group reviewing the potential impact of repeal. Here are a few highlights:

Adopt a policy of nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation: "This is necessary in light of the history of past discrimination," SLDN says. "This is easy -- simply add sexual orientation to the Human Goals Charter, the Military Equal Opportunity program and associated training programs."

Recognize that gay and lesbian service members have partners and children: "The armed services should allow service members to identify their same-sex domestic partners and the children of these relationships in their personnel records," the group says. "This is important for identification of next of kin, security issues and deployment readiness."

• "To the extent possible, treat gay and lesbian service members like their straight comrades with respect to pay, benefits and family support services."

Allow service members discharged under "don't ask, don't tell" to rejoin the armed forces if they are otherwise qualified for re-accession: "The services should train military personnel specialists to handle applications from discharged service members and give them the authority to amend the applicants' records to permit re-accession if the former service member is otherwise qualified."

Adopt streamlined procedures for service members discharged under "don't ask, don't tell" and prior homosexual conduct policies to have their discharge records amended: "Reentry codes and discharge characterizations are important to former service members, for both personal and employment reasons. Streamlined procedures should be instituted to have their records changed."

Repeal will have no effect on military chaplains: "They operate today in a pluralistic environment, ministering to service members, in many cases, with whom they do not agree and of whom they do not approve. It will be no different after repeal." (I'm sure some chaplains think differently...)

Regardless whether it takes these ideas into account, the Pentagon working group must turn in its recommendations by Dec. 1 to President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen.

Read the full recommendations and leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Feds Feed Families Hits Record Haul: The second annual government-wide food drive has collected more than 1.2 million pounds of food with one week to go. Agencies and the Office of Personnel Management plan to distribute the collected items to food pantries and other charities.

Question of the Week: How do you think your federal benefits stack up against benefits offered with a comparable job in the private sector? E-mail your answer to federalworker@washpost.com and include your full name, home town and the agency for which you work. We might include your response in Friday's Washington Post.

Cabinet and Staff News: Thomas Nides in line to replace Jack Lew at the State Department? Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a former Sovietologist, to meet with Russia's defense minister. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton causes yet another stir in Japan.

BOEMRE:
Beleaguered agency brings in the consultants: What do you do when you've got a badly troubled agency in need of an overhaul? You hire the high-priced consulting firm McKinsey & Co. to tell you how to fix it.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT:
2 bodies are found buried in wrong graves at Arlington: It's the first revelation of bodies being exhumed since the Army released an inspector general report in June that found extensive record-keeping problems.

Gates starts outlining cuts to save $100 billion for defense: Money saved in cutting overhead and other inefficient costs on weapons programs will go toward modernizing and recapitalizing military equipment and sustaining troops, Pentagon officials said.

FDA:
It's corn syrup by another name: The makers of high-fructose corn syrup asked the federal government Tuesday for permission to sweeten its image with a new name: corn sugar.

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING:
President of ex-Blackwater firm leaves post: Joseph Yorio has left the company as part of a restructuring in preparation for its sale, sources say.

Lockheed Martin buyout program could cost up to $200 million: The company announced earlier this month that 600 executives - or a quarter of the company's total - have accepted the deal in exchange for leaving by February.

GOVERNMENT WORK/LIFE/OPERATIONS:
Quicker federal hiring system on track to start in November: The effort is part of Obama's campaign pledge to make the government an attractive employer to a wider pool of job seekers.

Eleanor Holmes Norton tries to save Small Savers: It's a day-care center slated for elimination when the newly passed financial reform law takes effect next July.

INTERIOR DEPARTMENT:
New ruling on claims for spill damage: Kenneth Feinberg, the administrator of claims related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, told Florida hotel and restaurant owners he will not impose a "proximity" requirement on those seeking payments for lost business.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT:
Civil rights photographer unmasked as informer: An unsettling asterisk must be added to the legacy of Ernest C. Withers, one of the most celebrated photographers of the civil rights era: He was a paid FBI informer

NTSB:
Fault set in 2009 Hudson River plane crash: Errors by an air traffic controller distracted by a personal phone call and rules that relied on pilots to avoid collisions contributed to the fatal collision between a sightseeing helicopter and a small private plane.

House to hear NTSB's Metro findings: Some lawmakers are supportive of its recommendation that the Federal Transit Administration develop non-punitive safety reporting programs for all transit agencies.

U.S. POSTAL SERVICE:
Postal worker hit by police cruiser in Pr. George's dies: Ronald Burgess, 62, of the District was walking across Garrett A. Morgan Boulevard when he was struck traveling from the area of FedEx Field toward Central Avenue about 6:20 a.m.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | September 15, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Military  
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Comments

If the morons in the Senate vote to repeal it, I feel sorry for the dependent children in military housing areas when the perverts start to prey on them.
This is disgusting beyond description.

Posted by: LarryG62 | September 15, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

LarryG62-What rock did you crawl out from under? Sexual orientation has absolutely nothing to do with pedophilia. In fact most convicted pedophiles self-identify as straight.

Being gay does not make someone do illegal things any more than being straight does. There are currently many gay and lesbian service members living on bases all over the world. Allowing them to actaully put a picture of their significant other on their desk is not going to suddenly cause them to become a criminal.

Posted by: schnauzer21 | September 15, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

To LarryG62:

Homosexuals do not prey on children; pedaphiles do. There is a huge, huge, monumental difference between having feelings for people of the same sex and wanting to rape children.

Posted by: hebe1 | September 15, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Lets get one thing straight.
Homosexuals do NOT have children.
they are granted adoption rights by some perverted court.

Posted by: movette | September 15, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

What about the blackmail-ability of those with access to top secret and confidential material? The issue isn't the moral (or immoral, however you look at it) side of homosexuality it's the fact somebody could be blackmailed into delivering top secret stuff to enemy countries. As in "We know you are homosexual and we'll blackmail you, you'll lose your job, if you don't deliver Government/military secrets to us."

Posted by: Baltimore11 | September 15, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

It would be a great day for America if DADT is repealed. Gays and lesbians can serve their country well, and are eager to do so. Hopefully the days of discrimination are past.

Posted by: hugmekatie | September 15, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I'm all for ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell on national security grounds, if no other. Right now, it would not be that hard for a foreign government to blackmail a gay serviceperson.

But, please, please, please change the wording of "children of these relationships" since by its very nature a homosexual relationship cannot produce children.

Posted by: nadie1 | September 15, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Homosexual couples DO often have families. Lesbians sometimes chose to have a child by sperm implantation, and her partner then adopts the child. Gay men sometimes have children by a former marriage. In many states homosexuals are eligible to adopt children.
It's about time the U.S. joined the other countries (Canada, U.K., Israel to name a few) who make no fuss about homosexuals in the armed forces. It's embarrassing to think that our American men and women have an irrational fear of homosexuality.

Posted by: kittymeredith | September 15, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

The fact that no one in this argument considers, due their own biases and political leanings, is that when a man or woman enlists in the US Armed Services...they are no longer John or Jane Doe...but rather, GI 425768.

Numbered GI's do not have opinions, personal desires or sexual relations during their time in the service...except while on commissioned leave. Thus, there is no argument in this issue.

When one joins the military, they understand that they have ceded some personal rights in order to be part of a group which bypasses emotion and follows orders given in order to maintain order in what is an unorderly mess in most militaries of the world.

By all means, if gays can admit to such, we should allow Muslims to stop PT for calls to prayer, and Jews to exit military maneuvers altogether to observe Passover. We should then let our urban blacks show their city pride by sporting ball caps, bandannas and baggy white T's in lieu of their uniforms. Why not let the guys who dislike gays, in bigoted fashion, to don t-shirts and pants which denote their feelings towards gays? After all, freedom of speech is the entire reason for this debate.

End point and FACT OF THE MATTER:

In the military, you are not an American citizen with all of the amendments to protect you...you are a numbered body with a job to do, which is equally important to the job of every other uniform.

Soon, we might be debating whether the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines should be able to give political endorsements and run TV ad's to supplement such things.

Being gay in America is not illegal, nor is being a white who dresses black or a straight who wears fingernail polish and women's panties. HOWEVER, ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE ILLEGAL IN THE MILITARY, BECAUSE IN THE MILITARY, THERE ARE NO INDIVIDUALS, THERE ARE ONLY GI'S, NCO'S AND OFFICERS, SEGREGATED ONLY BY THE STRIPES ON THEIR SLEEVES OR DECORATIONS RECEIVED.

Posted by: TheFreeMan | September 15, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

"C. Relationship Recognition
After repeal, the armed services should adapt their policies and regulations to take same sex relationships into account. This is separate from the question whether they should recognize same-sex marriages or domestic partnerships for benefits or other purposes. This simply means that the services should recognize the fact that lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members might have “significant others” in their lives. There are also contexts in which the armed services should want to know about a service member’s same-sex partner."

The first two sentences are completely contradictory.

What legal proof defines a "domestic partnership" other than "it's who I'm living with?" Is DEERS going to play musical chairs every time someone new comes along?

There are huge amounts of benefits at stake here that the taxpayer (who may not recognize same sex marriage or 'domestic partnerships') is unwittingly going to support through his taxes.

I say let the Federal Government recognize same sex marriage first, then you may force this upon DOD, otherwise leave DADT alone.

I'm all for letting gays serve professionally, leave the bedroom in the bedroom, but don't you dare politicize your orientation in my foxhole.

Posted by: DonnyKerabatsos | September 15, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry Ed, you can still sign up. Under Obama they won't actually discharge you

Posted by: jiji1 | September 15, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

@ALL INHUMANE XTIANS

YOU CALL SAME SEXERS PERVERTS BUT TURN A BLIND EYE TO YOUR "holy bible" THE CONDONES POLYGAMY AND ADULTS TO MARRY CHILDREN...HUH LOOK AT YOUR OWN BOOK FIRST

Marriage ages in the Ancient Near East: (ADULTS married the under age EVEN IN BIBLE ie MARY AND JOSEPH)

Ancient Egypt marriage ages: females 12-14, males 14-20
In Greece: girls 14-20, males (post military) 18+
In Rome: girls 12, boys 14 (legal ages)
In OT: For girls, see Vetus Testamentum 22 (1972): 326-48
Talmud: For girls, puberty age (Yeb. 62b), boys 14-18
[Cultural aspects of marriage in the ancient world.
Yamauchi, Edwin M., Bibliotheca sacra 135 Jl-S 1978, p 241-252. ]
[Note: while the age for marriage for men is recorded as being late between
say Adam and Isaac, during the time of Moses it would have been much earlier.]

Banging children and relatives was "normal" for Moses and many other tribes of the Middle East and "holy" land. And so was god sanctioned genocide, slavery and rape. But somehow, intercourse between consenting adults is a sin.

Posted by: shaiarra | September 15, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

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