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Don't Ask, Don't tell 
17th-Oct-2009 10:28 am

Don't ask, don't tell (DADT) is the common term for the policy regarding gays and lesbians serving openly in the U.S. military mandated by federal law Pub.L. 103-160 (10 U.S.C. § 654). Unless one of the exceptions from 10 U.S.C. § 654(b) applies, the policy prohibits anyone who "demonstrate(s) a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" from serving in the armed forces of the United States, because "it would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability." The act prohibits any homosexual or bisexual person from disclosing his or her sexual orientation or from speaking about any homosexual relationships, including marriages or other familial attributes, while serving in the United States armed forces. The "don't ask" part of the policy indicates that superiors should not initiate investigation of a service member's orientation in the absence of disallowed behaviors, though mere suspicion of homosexual behavior can cause an investigation.

During his presidential campaign, then-Senator Barack Obama advocated repeal of the policy to allow gay and lesbian people to serve openly in the armed forces, agreeing with General Shalikashvili and stating that the U.S. government has spent millions of dollars replacing troops expelled from the military, including language experts fluent in Arabic.

19 days after his election, Obama's advisers announced that plans to repeal the policy may be delayed until as late as 2010, because Obama "first wants to confer with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and his new political appointees at the Pentagon to reach a consensus, and then present legislation to Congress."

Obama's current position is that Congress has exclusive authority to lift the ban. However, in May 2009, a committee of military law experts at the University of California at Santa Barbara concluded that it is within the authority of the executive branch to discontinue the policy.

In July 2009, the White House and other Democrats allegedly pressured Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings to withdraw an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 2647) that would have prevented the military from using money to carry out the provisions of DADT.

In a major departure from his campaign promises, Obama's administration is defending the policy in court. Regarding the first reference, the government had argued before the Federal Appeals Court in San Francisco that the policy should have a blanket application, therefore negating a requirement for an expulsion review based on merit. Obama administration lawyers let the May 3, 2009 deadline to appeal pass, and the case reverted back to the district court. In court documents, government lawyers agreed with the ruling of the Federal Appeals Court in Boston that DADT is "rationally related to the government's legitimate interest in military discipline and cohesion." An appeal of this case, Pietrangelo v. Gates 08-824, was subsequently rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.

On the eve of the National Equality March in Washington, D.C., October 10, 2009, Barack Obama stated in a speech before the Human Rights Campaign that he will end the policy, but offered no timetable.

Do you support or oppose the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy?

I strongly support it
I support it somewhat
I'm not sure whether I support it or oppose it
I'd like to get more information or input before I take a position on it
I oppose it somewhat
I strongly oppose it
Something else (what?)

If you think that the DADT policy should be repealed, when should it be repealed?

I don't think it should be repealed, I think it should remain
I don't think it should be repealed until we have more information
I think it should be repealed when President Obama is ready to do so
I think it should be repealed when a majority of those in the military support its repeal
I think it should be repealed now
Something else (what?)
17th-Oct-2009 06:39 pm (UTC)
It's a stupid policy and it should go. Doesn't the US have anti-discrimination laws? Why is it okay to discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation?
17th-Oct-2009 06:57 pm (UTC)
Only certain classes fall under the anti-discrimination laws, and I don't think sexual orientation is one of them. Sex, ethnicity, and... age, I think?
17th-Oct-2009 09:29 pm (UTC)
Oh, okay. Sexual orientation is mentioned in the German anti-discrimination law, so I was wondering if that's not also the case in the US...
17th-Oct-2009 09:30 pm (UTC)
It's also a prohibited ground of discrimination in Canada.
17th-Oct-2009 09:47 pm (UTC)
Yeah, we're just behind the times with that one.
17th-Oct-2009 07:02 pm (UTC)
Actually, Wikipedia lists:

* Race
* Sex
* Pregnancy
* Religion
* National origin
* Disability (physical or mental, including HIV status)
* Age (for workers over 40)
* Military service or affiliation
* Anticipated deployment with the Reserves or National Guard
* Bankruptcy or bad debts
* Genetic information
* Citizenship status (for citizens, permanent residents, temporary residents, refugees, and asylees)
17th-Oct-2009 08:23 pm (UTC)
It does in some states, but I don't think it's federal yet. There's pending legislation about it for employment right now.
17th-Oct-2009 09:00 pm (UTC)
It's an outdated discriminatory policy that doesn't even have popular support anymore.
17th-Oct-2009 10:32 pm (UTC)
If I can't talk about something because the government will punish me for doing so, my constitutional guarantee to free speech under the First Amendment is violated.
18th-Oct-2009 02:34 am (UTC)
I think those in politics and are heavy into their religion don't understand blatant irony.
17th-Oct-2009 11:21 pm (UTC)
At a time when recruitment is at all-time lows and every branch of the Armed Services is hurting for qualified personel, the fact that they're kicking out needed soldiers because of sexuality is beyond ludicrous. It's cutting off your nose to spite someone else's face.
18th-Oct-2009 12:00 am (UTC)
If you think that the DADT policy should be repealed, when should it be repealed? -

First and foremost, Obama's reversal on this is tragic. The existence of the policy is shameful.

However - big however - a bunch of Law professors who say that he has the power is the same way the U.S. started torturing people and denying others fundamental rights. The Executive is showing deference to the rule of law? What madness is this? Sure, it's a self-serving deference, or perceivedly self-serving deference or some such, but that's something.

In fact, it's this sort of thing that makes me worried Bush "broke the seal," so to speak, and the U.S. population isn't going to accept anything less than a President who acts like a tyrant.
19th-Oct-2009 05:01 am (UTC)
You make a very good point.

18th-Oct-2009 02:32 am (UTC)
I think it should have been repealed years ago.
18th-Oct-2009 02:58 am (UTC)
At the time that Don't Ask, Don't Tell became a rule/law/whatever, I saw it as a first step towards allowing anyone of any sexual orientation to serve openly in the military. It's taken far too long for this to happen, and I think it's BS that it hasn't been repealed already and replaced with a policy of allowing anyone to serve who wants to serve.

Edited at 2009-10-18 03:00 am (UTC)
19th-Oct-2009 04:59 am (UTC)
At heart, I wish it would be repealed now. If the military was the civilian world, with civilian minds, things would be a lot different.

That being said, the military is very different. Rules are different, and the repercussions are extremely different. I selected "I think it should be repealed when a majority of those in the military support its repeal" in the second question, because if it was repealed now, there would be a lot of hurt and pain of the homosexuals in the military.

Then again, the ones that would decide to "come out" to the military could be seen as martyrs in later years.

I feel that a lot of people who have strong views on this don't fully understand the opposing side. Whether that being pro-gay rights members to the military or visa versa.
19th-Oct-2009 05:59 pm (UTC)
I'm against DODT and think it should be done away with. People should be able to openly be who they are without being expected to hide their sexual orientation or anything else about them. That would be the ideal/perfect scenario.

In the real world, however, I see problems inplementing this now, especially considering what a good number of people in the US military are like (ultra "masculine" types, super conservative, etc.) -- so I see a LOT of problems ahead that will last for some time, should it be changed.

Obviously, you have to start somewhere. So why not now?
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