For nearly 18 years, the “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy, known in short as DADT, has been in effect. Although the military has loosened restrictions on most requirements, even allowing felons to join, homosexual and bisexual men and women are still not allowed to openly serve.
Since President Clinton signed DADT, the military has discharged over 13,650 service men and women, 6,510 of them since the September 11th attacks alone. It has been estimated that due to this policy the military has spent $363 million dollars in replacing discharged troops, some of which were fluent Arabic speakers. At a time when military enrollment is down across the board, it is a travesty that American men and women are being discharged for simply loving someone of the same sex.
However, at the end of last year, President Barack Obama signed into law a repeal of DADT. Last Friday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the Joint Chiefs “certified that the military is ready to end DADT, the policy preventing gays from openly serving.”
Each member of the Joint Chiefs have submitted a report to Panetta stating that they believe that the military is ready for such changes and that there will be no impact on military readiness. The next step is for Obama to certify the repeal. This will start a 60-day waiting period before DADT is gone once and for all.
Recent military polls have shown that a large majority of personal are more than okay with allowing gays to openly serve right along with them. In fact, 70% of all the military personnel polled believe that repealing DADT will either have a positive impact or no impact at all on unit cohesion. However, 60% of Marine Corps personnel said that repealing the ban would be negative.
One group that is still trying to combat the repealing of DADT is the Southern Baptist Convention. They have threatened that if DADT is repealed, they will revoke their support of military chaplains from their churches. They site that repealing DADT would “make it impossible for chaplains whose faith teaches that same-sex behavior is immoral to minister to military service members.” The Roman Catholic Church has also called for DADT’s retention but has no intent on pulling their priests from being chaplains. Despite this, many other churches consider the repealing of the policy a “non-event” or “non-issue.With DADT to end soon, the gay rights movement has won a swift and long-coming victory. As an openly gay American I am proud that my country has made this huge leap forward for equality.