The end (still) is near for 'don't ask don't tell'
You know that sound you hear when carpenters are busy hammering nails at a construction site? Well, that's what I'm hearing now that there is a second leak about the impending Pentagon report on the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military. The details aren't due until Dec. 1, but this much is clear: the military isn't freaked about the demise don't ask don't tell.
Citing sources familiar with the Pentagon Working Group survey last month, the Associated Press reported that "most troops and their families don't care whether gays are allowed to serve openly and think the policy of 'don't ask, don't tell' could be done away with." Then today, the hammering of the nails in the coffin of the gay ban grew louder with today's story in The Post, which reported that "A Pentagon study group has concluded that the military can lift the ban on gays serving openly in uniform with only minimal and isolated incidents of risk to the current war efforts."
These stories have been integral in laying the groundwork for the demise of a shameful policy. Americans willing to serve and protect their country shouldn't be denied the honor because of who they are. That such discrimination is very close to ending should be cheered. But we're not there just yet.
The House passed its repeal earlier this year. So, all eyes are now on the Senate and whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) can get the repeal passed in the lame-duck session next week. But if the Senate fails then as it did in September, other moves are being contemplated, I learned last night.
I'm a little late getting to this today, because I was moderating a panel in Los Angeles last night on the state of gay rights issues, including don't ask don't tell, in the wake of the 2010 midterm elections. This afternoon, I'm in New York City to sit on a panel on where things stand on ending don't ask don't tell. But already I've picked up a lot of good intelligence that don't ask don't tell as we know it is on its way out one way or another. I'll bring you the details as soon as I can. It may take a while to hammer in the last nail in the coffin of this disgraceful policy. But rest assured, the hammering will stop.
| November 11, 2010; 3:51 PM ET
Categories: Capehart | Tags: Jonathan Capehart
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