The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

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The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Pentagon Study Shows Majority of Military Sees No Harm in Repealing 'Don’t Ask Don’t Tell'

December 1, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

A Pentagon study to assess the impact of repealing the military’s ban on openly gay servicemembers found that repeal would pose little risk to military effectiveness.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) is the current military policy that requires lesbian and gay servicemembers to conceal their sexual orientation or face expulsion from the military.

Defense Department General Counsel Jeh C. Johnson and Army Gen. Carter F. Ham co-authored the report, which was based on approximately 115,000 responses from troops and 44,200 military spouses and found that approximately 70 percent of respondents think that repealing DADT would have little or no effect on their unit.

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold two hearings at the end of this week to discuss the report and the future of DADT. The Joint Chiefs of Staff and the authors of the report will testify.

Civil and human rights groups, who have long considered DADT to be counterproductive and discriminatory, say that in light of the study’s findings Congress should pass repeal legislation by the end of the year.

“The Pentagon validated what repeal advocates and social scientists have been saying about open service for over a decade.” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. “Now, it’s up to the Senate to make repeal happen this year.”

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who commissioned the study, echoed this sentiment: “Now that we have completed this review, I strongly urge the Senate to pass this legislation and send it to the president for signature before the end of this year.”

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