Recent weeks have given grounds for optimism regarding the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, a federal law that prevents gay people from serving openly in the military. A poll was released revealing that 75% of Americans think gays should be allowed to serve openly. (44% supported this when former President Bill Clinton tried to end the ban…
This week, former Vice President Dick Cheney said that “Twenty years ago the military was a strong advocate of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell when I was the Secretary of Defense. I think things have changed significantly since then.” He also said “The society has moved on.”
Unfortunately, despite support from key military leaders, Republicans, and the American public, maybe we shouldn’t expect to see a repeal. The AP reports:
A complete repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is probably years away.
The two officials appointed to lead a yearlong internal assessment — Gen. Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Army forces in Europe, and Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson — met for the first time on Feb. 9.
The protracted time line is about more than giving military leaders time to assess the impact on troops and put new rules in place. The multiyear process also is a strategic way of getting troops used to the idea before they have to accept change. Politically, the time line puts off congressional debate over lifting the ban until after elections this fall.
Let’s keep Congress accountable on this…
(Photo courtesy of AFP.)