Gates: Repealing DADT ‘Matter of Some Urgency’
November 30, 2010
(ChattahBox US News)—The Pentagon’s DADT report was finally released today and it couldn’t be better news. The comprehensive report concludes that 70 percent of service men and women believe allowing open service would have negligible or no effect on military operations. Not only did the overall report support repeal of DADT, but both Defense Secretary Robert Gates and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, both support open service. No longer can cowardly anti-gay lawmakers hide behind an impending Pentagon report. The report is now out and the results and the data support repeal.”The survey results found more than two-thirds of the force do not object to gays and lesbians serving openly in uniform, Gates said. “The findings suggest that for large segments of the military, repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ though potentially disruptive in the short term, would not be the wrenching, traumatic change that many have feared and predicted.” So, what are we waiting for?
Gates “strongly” urged the Senate to repeal DADT “before the end of this year.”
He pointed out that if anti-gay senators, such as John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) continue to block repeal of the discriminatory policy, the federal courts may step in and force their hands. Then the Pentagon will be forced to implement a change in policy on the court’s timetable.
“Given the present circumstances, those that choose not to act legislatively are rolling the dice that this policy will not be abruptly overturned by the courts,” said Gates.
Mullen called the findings of the report “solid, defensible conclusions.” And he pointed out that repeal of DADT is imperative from both a personal and professional standpoint.
“And from the standpoint of a change in the law – I mean, my perspective is, as what I would call my – certainly was my personal opinion, is now my professional view, that this is a policy change that we can make. And we can do it in a relatively low-risk fashion, given the time and given the ability to mitigate whatever risk is out there through strong leadership, said Adm. Mullen.
More tellingly, of the group surveyed who have served with a gay or lesbian service member, an overwhelmingly majority said it made no difference.
Steve Benen of the Political Animal sums it up:
“Nearly seven in ten U.S. troops said they served alongside someone in their unit who they believed to be gay or lesbian, and 92% of these servicemen and women said their unit’s ability to work together was fine. What’s more, 89% of Army combat units and 84% of Marine combat units saying they had good or neutral experiences working with gays and lesbians.”
What happens now? The Democrats only need two Republican senators to cross over and allow the measure to come to the floor for an up-or-down vote.
The Defense Secretary and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are both urging the senate to act expeditiously to repeal DADT, armed with an extensive report backing up their recommendation.
If senate Republicans engage in another filibuster to block repeal, they would be going against the will of the vast majority of their constituents and our military leaders.
The full report can be found here.
Photo Source: DOD photo, by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley.