(Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)
The repeal of the military’s "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy is expected to officially take effect Tuesday, the Department of Defense announced today.
DADT was established under the Clinton administration in 1993 and made it illegal for homosexual service members to serve while being open about their sexuality. Starting Tuesday, gays and lesbians in the military can go public with their sexual orientation without fear of being reprimanded.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will discuss the repeal of the the DADT law Tuesday at a Pentagon news conference.
“This is something that has been known for a long time,” Little told press members, according to the American Forces Press Services. “We’ve gone through a process to certify repeal.”
“No one should be left with the impression that we are unprepared. We are prepared for repeal,” Little said. “The force is well aware that this is coming. They’ve had the training. It’s been in the press for months. The Sept. 20 day is not a mystery.”
Officials at OutServe, an association of more than 4,000 gay active-duty troops and veterans, took a recent survey that revealed that approximately 80 percent of homosexual personnel have already come out to military coworkers, with about half of those deciding to publicly acknowledge their sexual orientation in the weeks leading up to repeal. Others told the group that they had no specific plans to discuss the issue but won’t avoid it, either.
The survey also found that 67 percent of gay or lesbian service members expect their colleagues would treat them "universally" or "generally" without discrimination. As one participant wrote:
"Lots of people at work know a friend of mine is gay, and there have been no negative reactions toward him. As for another friend in a combat unit, the whole unit knew he was gay and no one cared."
Family Research Council has urged the Pentagon to postpone the repeal. The Washington, D.C., based conservative group said it still has not received responses to questions regarding how the repeal will affect religious freedom and conscience exemptions.
“The American military exists for only one purpose – to fight and win wars. Yet, tomorrow, the U.S. military becomes a tool in reshaping social attitudes regarding human sexuality,” said FRC President Tony Perkins. “Using the military to advance a liberal social agenda will only do harm to the military's ability to fulfill its mission.”
The Department of Defense has spent weeks trying to downplay the repeal, insisting that once it is lifted it will be business as usual. Officials claim that nothing will change for most active and reserve personnel, other than now, if someone happens to be a homosexual, they do not have to hide it anymore. The mission of the military remains the same.
Under DADT, approximately 14,000 service members had been discharged. Last year, in mid-December, both houses of Congress approved the repeal bill and Obama signed it into law Dec. 22, 2010.
Perkins of FRC believes there is “disturbing evidence” that the Obama administration exerted pressure on high-ranking military officials to rush to overturn DADT. He is calling on Congress to hold hearings to investigate the matter.
Beginning Tuesday, recruiters can actively accept applications from openly gay and lesbian applicants.