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An update on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal process

Don't Ask Don't Tell

By Adam Bink

As many of you have noted in the comments, today the Department of Defense held a media briefing regarding an update on implementation of repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. They also released a 5-page memo to the public from Sec. Gates, and another one from Under Secretary Stanley (which I’ve uploaded so you can read here and here).

After reading the memos and the DOD’s comments, a few notes:

  • The Under Secretary responsible for implementation, Clifford Stanley, is tasked with delivering an outline of implementation regarding training and “to facilitate the timely and orderly realization” by February 4th, which is good news. One of the concerns many, including myself, had was a drawn-out months-long process just to study implementation and develop a plan. We still have to ensure that certification happens sooner rather than later, as there is no timeline in sight until an openly gay or lesbian person can walk into a recruiting office and sign up, or a servicemember can come out, but this is welcome news. More on that from Gen. Cartwright below.
  • Gates lays out six guidelines for developing the policy, guidelines which speak to non-discrimination in the armed forces. The language, which is below, appears to be very positive:

– All personnel will be treated with respect.
– No policy should be established that is solely based on on sexual orientation.
– Harassment or unlawful discrimination of any member of the Armed Forces for any reason will not be tolerated.
– Standards of personal and professional conduct will apply uniformly to all military personnel, regardless of sexual orientation.
– Implementation will be timely, deliberate, comprehensive, and consistent with the standards of readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces.
– Implementation standards will be consistent across all Services.

  • One of the more controversial issue that came up during repeal efforts, voiced particularly by Sen. Manchin, is how chaplains whose personal views conflict with the new policy will be treated. The memo states “[t]here will be no changes regarding Service member exercise of religious beliefs, nor are there any changes to policies concerning the Chaplain Corps of the Military Departments and their duties. The Chaplain Corps’ First Amendment freedoms and their duty to care for all will not change.” It’s not clear what that will mean for an openly gay or lesbian servicemember who seeks counsel e.g. whether the chaplain available can refuse to provide counsel.
  • At the hearing, Vice Chairman Cartwright said certification could happen within a year, and also said the Pentagon believes “moving along expeditiously is better than dragging it out.”
  • It’s unclear as of yet the ramifications for someone who is discriminated against based on sexual orientation, and that’s something I would like to see fleshed out in the plan due February 4th.
  • Some have asked whether those who were discharged previously under the policy that was repealed would be receiving “back pay”. Stanley’s memo makes it clear they would not.
  • Nor will there be extension benefits to same-sex partners or spouses, as it is prohibited under DOMA, which is also detailed in Stanley’s memo. Opposite-sex spouses will continue to receive such benefits.

Some fairly good news in all of this, given the range of possibilities and language of the law. As we’ve said from day one after the signing, we’re here to make sure nothing is dragged out, and servicemembers can sign up and serve openly sooner rather than later.


  • 1. Peterplumber  |  January 28, 2011 at 7:44 am


  • 2. Rhie  |  January 28, 2011 at 7:45 am


  • 3. Kathleen  |  January 28, 2011 at 7:47 am

    I thought about making a "gestalt of his package" joke here but decided to refrain.

  • 4. Ann S.  |  January 28, 2011 at 7:48 am

    So restrained of you.

  • 5. JonT  |  January 28, 2011 at 9:14 am

    @Kathleen: 🙂

    And Adam: 'It’s unclear as of yet the ramifications for someone who is discriminated against based on sexual orientation, and that’s something I would like to see fleshed out in the plan due February 4th.'

    This was asked in a couple of different ways, the response seemed to be that there are already procedures in place for service members who feel they are being discriminated against that can be applied, and the same procedures would apply to discrimination complaints regarding sexual orientation.

    There were violations of 'law and/or policy', and a more informal recourse — something called 'mass-req' or something to that effect?

    The impression I got was that discrimination according to sexual orientation would be handled no differently than racial, religious, or sexual discrimination is currently handled today.

    I think this is good. It should be treated no differently.

  • 6. Steve  |  January 28, 2011 at 10:30 am

    There are two ways to treat harassment issues:
    1.) Lodge a complaint within the unit commander
    2.) Command Managed Equal Opportunity, which investigates everything independently

    Option 2 depends on being recognized as a special class, which doesn't include sexual orientation.

    So it's possible to for example file a complaint against an NCO or direct superior with the unit's CO. But if you have a problem with the CO him/herself, you run into big problems. You'd have to go above your CO's head.

  • 7. JonT  |  January 28, 2011 at 10:52 am

    'Option 2 depends on being recognized as a special class, which doesn’t include sexual orientation. '

    Is that what this 'mass-req’ (almost certainly misspelled) means?

    If sexual orientation is not considered a 'special class', then what is?

    Forgive the questions – I've never served in the military.

    While I do not believe that being LGBT should be treated any differently than being a part of any other minority — the gist I got from the press briefing strongly implied that discrimination based on being gay would be treated no differently than any other form of discrimination.

    ? Inquiring minds want to know 🙂

  • 8. Steve  |  January 28, 2011 at 11:51 am

    The correct term is "protected class". Sorry. Basically the same as in civilian law. Gender, race, age, disabilities, nationality etc.

    The EO office is mainly meant to deal with sexual harassment, but can also be used for other things like alleged unfair treatment.
    The Inspector General is another option. But the preferred way is to handle things within the chain of command. And that's stepping outside of it too.

    They are half right. Presumably they mean that issues will be treated equally within the chain of command. But if the situation would require going outside of it, the options become limited for gay people.

  • 9. Lesbians Love Boies  |  January 28, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Hawaii just approved Civil Unions

  • 10. Lesbians Love Boies  |  January 28, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Hawaii Senate –

  • 11. Ann S.  |  January 28, 2011 at 7:55 am

    Still, huge news! The House is sure to pass it and the Gov is sure to sign.

    Yay! I mean, marriage would be better, but — yay!

  • 12. Kathleen  |  January 28, 2011 at 7:58 am

    Yay!!! One more step toward its passage. Great news.

  • 13. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2011 at 8:07 am


  • 14. Sagesse  |  January 28, 2011 at 9:35 am

    2011 is going to be a memorable year.

  • 15. JonT  |  January 28, 2011 at 10:54 am


  • 16. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 28, 2011 at 8:02 am

    When we do see repeal of DADT actually get implemented, this could mean an influx of MCC and UU chaplains into the military, as well as an influx of chaplains from other religious backgrounds who are accepting and welcoming of the Rainbow Tribe! I would love to see that.

  • 17. Chris in Lathrop  |  January 28, 2011 at 8:46 am

    If I ever went back in, which I can't see happening, I might just do that.

    I'm guessing that chaplains will still have to "minister" to LGBT personnel regardless. Sounds more to me like the wording simply gives them leeway to tell people what sinners they are. However, a true Christian remembers to love their neighbor as themselves.

  • 18. Steve  |  January 28, 2011 at 9:11 am

    I doubt DADT is what keeps them away from the military. Military chaplains need to be sponsored by the churches. The Protestant sects (especially the radical ones) are the fastest growing segments of Christianity. They simply have far more spare priests to send to the military. That's why the chaplain corps is dominated by southern baptists.

  • 19. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 28, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Many MCC ministers are openly gay, and as such, would not have been allowed to serve, even under DADT. After all, it is kind of hard to be in the closet when you are an ordained minister for a church whose primary congregation is the Rainbow Tribe. That is why I am hoping that this will allow more MCC ministers to serve as chaplains.

  • 20. Steve  |  January 28, 2011 at 10:31 am

    I was thinking about UU really.

  • 21. Kathleen  |  January 28, 2011 at 10:37 am

    I added this to the wrong post, so here it is again:

    UPDATE in LCR v USA (DADT case)

    ORDER – Motion to hold appeals in abeyance is denied. Briefing schedule reset with government opening brief now due February 25, 2011

  • 22. Jyo  |  January 28, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    So…the race is on?

  • 23. bJason  |  January 28, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    I was quite worried about this issue. So glad the court decided to keep this case active!

  • 24. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Tonight on ABC's "20/20" at 10pm ET is a report on teen homelessness…..

    "There are nearly two million homeless youth in America. In San Francisco alone, social workers see some 6,000 cases of homeless teens a year."

    The show includes stories like:

    – Rebecca who couch-surfed for months because she didn't get along with her mother's boyfriend….
    – An honor student like Dakota who was emancipated from her unreliable mother…..
    – & June, biologically a boy but identifies as a girl, who would rather live on the streets then be bullied by his brothers at home.

    Nearly 40% of homeless youth (according to are LGBT…This is either because they are rejected, discarded, & thrown out of the house by their parents (usually biological mom & dad) or they run away because they are afraid of their own parents & family. They fear for their lives…….but hey, NOM, The Ruth Institute, Maggie Gallagher, Brian Brown, Jennifer Roebuck Morse, etc. etc. etc…..are "protecting" the children….You score a lot of points for "Heterosexual biological Mom & Dad" when you have examples so high in numbers of Bio parents discarding their children or making their children's home life so unbearable that they either run away or commit suicide……But I guess, because Maggie's, Jennifer's or Brian's children fall in those categories they don't matter to NOM…..organizations like NOM & the Ruth Institute are responsible for perpetuating the BIGOTRY & HATRED that creates the high rate of homeless youth in this country…not to mention they would prefer to waste millions of dollars on destroying…I mean "protecting" marriage as well as belittling & degrading LGBT parents/families who provide homes for children then spending it on helping the millions of children in this country that have no home at all…..Just saying…..

    I'm setting my DVR to record tonights 20/20 so I can watch it tomorrow…..<3….Ronnie

  • 25. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2011 at 11:42 am

    I left out a word…."But I guess, because Maggie’s, Jennifer’s or Brian’s children don't fall in those categories they don’t matter to NOM"…..fixed….I need to go take some Theraflu….I woke up with a headache & dizzy this morning & nauseous all day…I feel better then I did this morning..but I'm still little drowsy…ttyl….<3….Ronnie

  • 26. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    So I stayed up to watch it…These 4 kids that Chris Cuomo profiled are amazing…They don't deserve the lives they lived & are living. They deserve much more. They deserve better…..June's brothers are so mean to her. Her mother seems to accept her a little. I hope June gets the help she deserves. She still has hope & a glimmer of light in her eyes. I hope George gets all he deserves having reconnected with his grandparents. I hope Rebecca pulls things together & tries again to get job training. I hope Dakota does well in college & gets the life she deserves…….

    When I move to NYC…I am going to see if there are ways I can volunteer or work with the True Colors LGBT Youth Homeless Shelter:

    There are so many children in this country that need our help. They need someone to care….Ok I am going to try to go to sleep now…not sure I will be able to after watching that…..My heart is heavy with sorrow. How can parents neglect their children in this way?….There are not enough words…just sorrow….goodnight….tty2morro…. : ( ….Ronnie

  • 27. Rob  |  January 28, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    And in related news, This from the New York Times:

  • 28. Kathleen  |  January 28, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    It's a good article. Thanks.

  • 29. Sagesse  |  January 28, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    Good article for us non-legal types. Evidently, the DOJ will face challenges arguing in the 2nd Circuit that it does not face elsewhere, because there are no precedents, pre or post Lawrence, as to whether LGBT citizens face discrimination or not. So they have to argue, from the anti-equality side, about things like immutability.

  • 30. Sagesse  |  January 28, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    There's something about this article. Liked it. And there's a poll you might want to take.

    Is it time to allow gay marriage?

  • 31. Sagesse  |  January 28, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Don't think this has been reported here.

    Obama Nominee for Judge Could Be First Openly Gay Man on the Federal Bench

  • 32. Sagesse  |  January 28, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Chris Rhatigan, a spokeswoman for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, said each case is examined individually, both for evidence of sexual orientation and the conditions of the country of origin. While she declined to comment specifically on the examples cited by Mr. Marrero and Ms. Neilson, Ms. Rhatigan said such behavior by immigration officers would not be condoned.

    “We don’t say that someone is insufficiently gay or homosexual, whatever that would mean, or that he or she could be saved by hiding his or her homosexuality,” Ms. Rhatigan said. “Sexual preference is an immutable characteristic. It is something an individual can’t or shouldn’t change.”

    Can a US government official say the 'immutable' word :). I guess so.

    Gays Seeking Asylum in U.S. Encounter a New Hurdle

  • 33. truthspew  |  January 29, 2011 at 12:02 am

    And over time as marriage equality spreads you'll see the last about benefits evaporate. A couple of key court cases will see to that.

  • 34. Sagesse  |  January 29, 2011 at 12:17 am

    Good analysis from Keen News Service

    Federal Court Hears Case on Interstate Recognition of Same-Sex Adoption

  • 35. bJason  |  January 29, 2011 at 12:36 am

    It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. Frightening implications, indeed!

  • 36. Sagesse  |  January 29, 2011 at 12:25 am

    The State of the LGBT Movement: How to assess

  • 37. Sagesse  |  January 29, 2011 at 12:33 am

    Courgage Campaign, a story for you.

    Gay Marine’s husband surprised at respect shown by Naval Academy

  • 38. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 29, 2011 at 1:48 am

    Thank you, Sagesse. I will have to show this to BZ when he gets back from Mother's.

  • 39. Ronnie  |  January 29, 2011 at 2:06 am

    “His next of kin was treated with the same dignity and respect afforded to the next of kin of all USNA grads who desire interment at the Columbarium,” said Jennifer Erickson, a spokesperson for the academy. “We didn’t do anything differently.”

    & that is all that we want from the government & the entities that are issued federal & state tax funding, to be treated with the same dignity & respect afforded to heterosexuals. After all, as naturally born & in some cases foreign born tax paying American citizens we deserve that…We shouldn't have to demand it. We shouldn't have to fight for it. & we shouldn't have to explain why… should just be obvious.

    I am sorry for his loss, but thanks to the legal recognition of his Iowa approved marriage & those at Annapolis, he was able to fulfill his husbands last requests….

    Thank you John Fliszar for your service to our country & thank you Matt Ketterson for sharing you story with us & thank you Sagesse for sharing their story with us……<3….Ronnie

  • 40. Kathleen  |  January 29, 2011 at 3:10 am

    That story really brought on the tears. You're right Ronnie. This is what it's about…

  • 41. Ann S.  |  January 29, 2011 at 7:42 am

    A beautiful and heart-warming story, despite the loss of Ketterson's husband.

    Reminding us all once again, as if we had any doubt, that words matter. Marriage matters.

  • 42. JonT  |  January 29, 2011 at 8:21 am

    What a nice story!

  • 43. Sagesse  |  January 29, 2011 at 12:39 am

    Emanuel promises LGBT community he’ll fight for rights

    According to the article, he's not the only supporter.

    "His three major rivals — Gery Chico, Carol Moseley Braun and Miguel del Valle — have all made similar claims."

  • 44. Sagesse  |  January 29, 2011 at 12:53 am

    Finding friends and allies in strange places

    Don't ask, don't tell lives on in our churches

  • 45. Ed Gould  |  January 29, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    DOMA rears its ugly head *AGAIN* in the DADT repeal.
    One of our biggest enemies has been Bill Clinton. Although Hilerary is not quite as bad she still ranks up there. To put it fairly both should be piceted and both should be never trusted again by any gay people. These two are just plain slimmy in my opinion. If any of you saw the interview of Hilary she came across (to me) as someone who would stab you in the back if you dared cross her. Although gay people have made headway in the department they have a long way to go and she is not pushing any of it as far as I can tell. Now granted what she may say (and do) in the public maybe different than what goes on behind the door is two different thing she is still not to be trusted.

  • 46. Ann S.  |  January 30, 2011 at 4:11 am

    Pres. Clinton did sign both DOMA and DADT, but both passed the House and Senate by more than a 2/3 vote and if had vetoed them he was sure to have been overridden.

  • 47. Tweets that mention An up&hellip  |  January 29, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jacce Mikulanec, Testimony. Testimony said: An update on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal process: […]

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