President Obama will repeal the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prevents openly homosexual men and women from serving in the military, his spokesman said.
A Michigan resident posted a question on the transition team website asking if Obama intends to end the 15-year-old rule.
“Is the new administration going to get rid of the ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ policy?” he asked.
Spokesman Robert Gibbs replied, “[Y]ou don’t hear a politician give a one-word answer much, but it’s yes.”
On his website Change.gov, Obama talked about the nation’s “founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect.”
An entry on the website states, “The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Discrimination should be prohibited. The U.S. government has spent millions of dollars replacing troops kicked out of the military because of their sexual orientation. … Obama will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals.”
According to the lead sponsor of a bill that would repeal the law, the policy could be overturned as early as this year.
“The key here is to get bills that pass the House and the Senate, that we can get to President-elect Obama to sign, and I think that we can do that, certainly, the first year of the administration,” co-sponsor Ellen Tauscher, D-Calif, told CNN.
In a July 2008 America Online poll, 78 percent of respondents said “gays” should be able to serve if they do not reveal their sexual orientation, and 75 percent said they think homosexuals should be allowed to serve openly.
However, a 2007 poll announced by the Military Times asked respondents, “Do you think openly homosexual people should be allowed to serve in the military?”
A full 59 percent of active duty military personnel responding to the poll said “no.” Only 30 percent said “yes,” while 10 percent reported no opinion. The previous year’s survey recorded the same number of soldiers opposing service of openly “gay” personnel.
Repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule could have serious consequences, the Center for Military Readiness claims. The group claims it could cause “unprecedented harm to discipline, morale, recruiting ad readiness” because it would force heterosexual and homosexual soldiers to cohabitate around the clock in conditions of little or no privacy – including Army and Marine infantry, Special Operations Forces, Navy SEALS and on surface ships and submarines.
According to a 2008 CMR report, “This would be tantamount to forcing female soldiers to cohabit with men at all times, regardless of the impact on discipline and morale. Stated in gender-neutral terms, in conditions of ‘forced intimacy,’ a phrase used in current law, persons will be exposed to persons who may be sexually attracted to them.”
The group warns the military will begin implementing “diversity training” programs that will force soldiers to accept homosexuality.
“Anyone who dares to complain about inappropriate actions conveying a sexual message or approach, short of physical touching and assault, will face career-killing presumptions and counter-accusations questioning their ‘intolerance,’” it states. “Commanders who take sides against homosexuals also could be accused of attitudes that violate the ‘zero tolerance’ policy. Having no recourse, thousands of people will leave or avoid the military all together. Lower recruiting and retention rates will weaken the volunteer force.”
However, Nathaniel Frank, a pro-”gay” research fellow with the Palm Center at U.C. Santa Barbara, told the San Francisco Chronicle that cohabitation would not be as much as a problem as CMR contends.
“We had a decade in the 1990s where people came out, and people came to know that their sisters and their mothers and their colleagues and their children and their friends were gay,” Frank said.
“Familiarity breeds tolerance, and even acceptance.”