Entries in DADT (16)


Court Rules Against DADT Even Though Pentagon Weeks from Full Repeal

Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Even though the Pentagon is midway through an ongoing process to repeal the "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" policy banning openly gay men and women from the armed services, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that the policy can no longer be enforced worldwide.
Although Congress passed legislation in December saying that the controversial policy would be repealed, the legislation specified that the repeal would only take effect once the military had certified that it was prepared for the change.
On Wednesday a three judge panel from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said that because “circumstances and balance of hardships have changed” the need for an injunction blocking a lower court ruling that found DADT to be unconstitutional was no longer necessary.
The ruling is a legal victory for gay rights groups who had grown frustrated with the Obama administration’s timeline, but it probably won’t have a lot of impact because the military has said it is “weeks away” from certifying the repeal. But the ruling is something a victory for the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights group that had grown frustrated with the time the administration was taking to certify the appeal.
“The court’s ruling today finds that the government especially had no basis for putting that injunction on hold so that it could continue to investigate and discharge patriotic service members merely for their sexual orientation,” said Dan Wood, an attorney for the Log Cabin Republicans. “This is a tremendous victory for the many Americans who want nothing more than to serve their country honorably and patriotically without regard to their sexual orientation, but the real winner here is our Constitution, which guarantees the rights of all Americans, gay and straight, whether serving in our armed forces or not.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


DADT Discharge Was Because of Voluntary Outing

Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The first case of a gay service member being discharged since the signing of the law that begins the process of repealing the Don’t Tell, Don’t Ask Law involved an Airman who voluntarily outed himself to get out of the Air Force.

The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law barring gays from serving openly in the military is likely to be repealed in a few months, but until then the law still remains in effect.

Under the repeal signed into law last December, DADT won’t be reversed until 60 days after Defense Secretary Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and President Obama certify that the readiness of the force has not been affected.  To that end, all of the services are in the midst of training their forces for what will change when repeal occurs.  Top Pentagon officials have said they expect certification to occur in mid- summer; that will begin the 60 day clock to repeal.

But last night the Air Force confirmed that a DADT discharge had occurred on April 29.  The news was surprising because last October, Gates had raised the bar so high for a DADT discharge to occur that none had occurred since then. Under Gates’ directive a servic emember’s discharge could only occur after consultation between the secretary of the relevant service, the Pentagon’s General Counsel and top personnel chief.

That was all done to prevent a gay service member from being discharged involuntarily under the law, but it didn’t prevent a service member from declaring themselves to be gay and wanting to leave the service and that’s exactly what happened in this case.

According to Air Force Spokesman Maj. Joel Harper on that date, “the Secretary of the Air Force approved the discharge of an Airman under the provisions of 10 USC 654, after coordination with the DoD General Counsel and the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Each of these officials evaluated the case carefully, and concluded that separation was appropriate.  The Airman in the case asked to be separated expeditiously.  Until repeal occurs, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' remains the law."

Harper says the Air Force expects to finish its training on June 30th, and there have been no reports of problems with the training.

In a statement reacting to news of the discharge, Alexander Nicholson, the Executive Director of the advocacy group Servicemembers United said “this appears to be a classic case of someone simply trying to use the fact that the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law is still technically on the books to get out of his or her service obligation.”  However, he said “it shows why the DADT law is flawed and harms the military - it can also be abused to allow someone to receive expensive training and then skip out on their commitment to serve, or it can simply be used to quit the military early by forcing an early separation."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pentagon to Begin Phase Out of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Pentagon announced Friday that it soon will begin training its forces on the end of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that bans gay members of the military from serving openly.

Senior Pentagon officials said Friday they are confident the process could be finished sometime this year.

Each of the military services will create its own training schedules based on guidelines issued by the Defense Department under a plan announced Friday by Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Cliff Stanley, undersecretary of personnel and readiness.

The Pentagon is moving "expeditiously" in laying out the plan for changing existing policies so they conform with the law that repeals "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Stanley said.

The next step will be a three-tiered training plan to inform all military members about the changes.

The training plan will begin by training "our experts, that's the first tier," Stanley said. "The second tier deals with our commanders or our leaders. And the third tier is, of course, the force."

Both officials said it remains unclear how long it will take to train the entire military, though Cartwright said the training of the three tiers doesn't have to be sequential -- "they can go on together."

The main uncertainty remains is how long it will take to train the 2.2 million service members who make up the armed forces -- 1.4 million active duty members and 800,000 national guardsmen and reservists.

However, both officials are confident that it could be done sometime this year.

The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy remains in effect until President Obama, Defense Secretary Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen certify that the military's implementation of the repeal has been completed and has not affected readiness. The law itself would not be repealed until 60 days after the certification.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


'DADT' Cost Taxpayers Nearly $400 Million, GAO Reports

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- One month after President Obama signed a repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” government accountants have finished tallying up how much the policy cost taxpayers during the 16 years it was in effect.

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office said in a report released Thursday that each discharge of a gay or lesbian service member over the past six years alone cost $52,800, including administrative costs and costs to recruit and train a replacement.

The removal of 3,664 service members total between 2004 and 2009 cost taxpayers an estimated $193.3 million.

The latest figures follow a 2005 GAO study that put the cost of the first decade of “don’t ask, don’t tell” at $190.1 million.

More than 13,000 service members have been discharged for violating the military’s ban on openly gay and lesbian troops since 1993, according to GAO.

The reports note 2,215 of those men and women held “critical” roles in the service branches, including voice interceptors, data processing technicians, translators and special security forces.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Raunchy Videos Prompt Naval Investigation

Photo Courtesy - Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jared M. King/U.S. Navy(NORFOLK, Va.) -- The U.S. Navy's Fleet Forces Command on Saturday launched an investigation into raunchy videos it concedes were shown on board the USS Enterprise, involving an officer who now commands the ship.

The videos were first obtained by the Norfolk, Va., newspaper The Virginian-Pilot, with a report Saturday that indicated the ship's captain, Owen Honors, appeared in the videos when he was the Enterprise's second-ranking officer.  In the video, he uses a gay slur, makes gestures apparently meant to simulate masturbation and refers to "chicks in showers" at a point where the video depicts two women in a shower together.  The videos were apparently shown on board the ship via closed-circuit television.

In a statement, the Fleet Command emphasizes the videos were made in 2006 and 2007.  Commander Chris Sims said in the paper statement that the videos are clearly inappropriate, not acceptable when they were made, and not acceptable now.  Sims told ABC News the videos are authentic.  He would not say whether the Fleet Command knew of the videos or Honors' role in the production of them when he was promoted to Captain of the Enterprise in May.

The aircraft carrier deploys in two weeks.  As of Sunday, Commander Sims said Honors' position was unchanged and he remains captain of the ship.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gates Wants to be 'Perfectly Clear': DADT Still in Effect

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(WASHINGTON) – Defense Secretary Robert Gates reacted Thursday to the President’s repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

In a statement, Gates reminded servicemen and women that the law will remain in effect while a decision is made on how to implement the new policy.

“It remains the policy of the Department of Defense not to ask Service members or applicants about their sexual orientation, to treat all members with dignity and respect, and to ensure maintenance of good order and discipline,” said Gates. “Service members who alter their personal conduct during this period may face adverse consequences.”
Gates said the repeal will go into effect only after a plan is put in place to repeal DADT, “in a manner consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces.”

Gates said he will continue to support the recommendations of the Comprehensive Review Working Group toward a roadmap for implementation.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Harry Reid Returns West Point Ring to Lt. Dan Choi

Photo Courtesy - Reid dot Senate dot gov(WASHINGTON) -- At a gathering of liberal activists in Washington last summer, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made a bold promise to gay rights advocates that he would ensure the Senate repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" before the end of the year.

As a reminder of his promise, Reid received the West Point graduation ring of Army 1st Lt. Dan Choi, who had been recently discharged from the military for being gay and become the public face of the campaign for repeal.

"He earned his ring," Reid said. "I'm going to give it back to him."

Wednesday, three days after keeping his promise on the repeal, Reid returned the ring to Choi in his office on Capitol Hill.

"Five months after I promised to repeal #DADT, I'm so happy to give back this West Point ring to @ltdanchoi," Reid tweeted.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


House Passes Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The House on Wednesday passed a bill to overturn the military's "don't ask, don't tell" ban on openly gay members of the armed forces, pressuring the Senate to delay its holiday recess and take the last step to end the policy by voting on the bill.

The 250-175 vote sends the bill to the Senate for what proponents of repeal believe is the last, best chance to end the policy that forces service members from admitting publicly that they are gay.

Next year, Republicans will control the House and command more seats in the Senate, diminishing any likelihood of the ban's repeal.

"It's been a long time coming, but now is the time for us to act," Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. said shortly before the vote.

"We know our first responsibility as elected officials. We take an oath of office to protect and defend, and our first responsibility is to protect the American people, to keep them safe. We should honor the service of all who want to contribute to that security." Pelosi said.

Democratic leaders in the Senate say they are committed to bringing the bill to a vote before Congress closes for the year. The Senate has many other important issues on its agenda, with just days left in the lame-duck session.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 


Gates Launches Investigation of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Review Leak

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images | Congressional Quarterly(WASHINGTON) -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates is condemning Thursday’s leak to the Washington Post of the results of the Pentagon’s review of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on gays in the military and has ordered an investigation to find out who leaked details to the paper.

The Washington Post reported that 70 percent of the respondents believed that allowing gays to serve openly in the military would not have much an effect. 

In a statement released by the Pentagon Friday night, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said Gates is “very concerned and extremely disappointed that unnamed sources within the Department of Defense have selectively revealed aspects of the draft findings of the Comprehensive Review Working Group, presumably to shape perceptions of the report prior to its release.”

To that end, Gates not only “strongly condemns” the leak, but he has “directed an investigation to establish who communicated with the Washington Post or any other news organization without authorization and in violation of department policy and his specific instruction.”

The group’s work has been closely held since Gates tasked the body with reviewing how the Defense Department would implement a repeal of the DADT law.  Gates intended to preserve the integrity of the review given how politically charged the idea of repealing the law has become. 

In his statement, Morrell said the group’s work remained private since then, but "anonymous sources now risk undermining the integrity of the process."

The final report still will be presented to Gates on Dec. 1 as originally intended.

According to Friday’s statement, the full report will be made public shortly thereafter.

“Until then, no one at the Pentagon will comment on its contents,” said Morrell.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Supreme Court Keeps 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' in Effect

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court issued an order Friday denying a request from a gay rights group to ban the implementation of "don't ask, don't tell."

In October, District Court Judge Virginia Phillips ruled the policy -- which bans openly gay troops from serving in the military -- was unconstitutional, and she issued a worldwide injunction blocking its enforcement.

An appeals court later overturned the injunction, deciding the policy could remain in effect while the government appealed the merits of the case.

Friday’s order from the Supreme Court is a victory for the Obama administration. The president has said he believes the policy should be repealed by Congress and not the courts.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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