UPDATE: Fed Appeals Court Rules Against DADT
In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Aubrey Sarvis, Executive Director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Despite Obama signing the bill last December authorizing the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), it is still unsafe for service members to come out until 60 days after certification by President Obama, Secretary Gates, and Admiral Mullen. Recently Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated that he is prepared to move forward on the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) repeal certification before he leaves office at the end of June.
Update: Defense Secretary Robert Gates, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) in an interview on June 23rd that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) repeal would not be certified before he retires June 30, instead coming from his successor Leon Panetta in late July or early August.
When asked where we stand with the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and when it will finally take effect, Sarvis stated, “Unfortunately we’re in a holding pattern right now on the repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’. Repeal has not happened. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is still the law. We’re pushing the White House, pushing the Pentagon to get certification which is an important part of the process. To get certification by the President, Defense Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, to get those three together this month in June before Secretary of Defense Gates leaves. There’s some signs that certification may slip, may not happen this month and if it does slip that certification could well be in July or later. Then there’s another part of the process. Once we have the certification, an additional 60 days has to run before we have repeal of the statute known as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ finally goes away. All of this could come together by mid or late September or October. So unfortunately we have several more months to go before this law is gone entirely. In the meantime we caution and advice service members to be careful, to serve in silence, until we have this final repeal.”
While we are in this holding pattern the House Republicans have attached ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to the National Defense Act. Obama has stopped short of specifically stating that he would veto the final bill when it is passed by both the House and Senate if that bill includes the current House language. Openly gay Representatives Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, Jared Polis and David Cicilline stated in a letter to Obama, “Because this issue is so important in so many ways, we think it would be the best course for you to reaffirm your strong support of the end of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ by making it explicit that you would veto a bill in the unlikely event that it came to you, which undermined the decision that you led us to make last year – namely a military that does not discriminate unfairly and does not turn away patriotic, productive Americans seeking to serve their country.”
This is an extremely important issue for our LGBT community. We must not become complacent and make sure this archaic legislation is removed once and for all.
Update: Senate Armed Services Committee’s markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 which was completed June 17th, contained none of the reactionary and distracting amendments related to the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that were inserted into the House version of the bill and also would repeal the outdated and widely ignored prohibition on sodomy between consenting adults.
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