'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Officially Ends Today
September 20, 2011 - Posted by Tyler Lewis
Today, the repeal of "don't ask don't tell" takes effect and gay and lesbian Americans can now serve openly in the United States military.
President Obama signed a law repealing "don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) on December 22, 2010, but law specifies that the repeal would not take effect until all four joint chiefs of staff certify that eliminating the policy will not diminish combat readiness, followed by a 60-day waiting period. President Obama and the joint chiefs sent the certification legislation to Congress on July 22 and set the date for the official end of the policy for September 20.
Military recruiters have been accepting applications from openly gay and lesbian Americans wanting to serve in the military, but some of the new policies that will implement the repeal in full will now take place that the repeal is official.
Repealing "don't ask don't tell" was a major priority for the civil and human rights community this year. DADT has long been opposed by civil and human rights organizations as being discriminatory and counterproductive, depriving the military of access to individuals committed to defending our country.
"This was a hard-fought victory, and supporters of equality should feel proud. But we cannot lose sight of the challenges that remain – from passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to bar employment discrimination in every workplace, to bringing an end to DOMA through the Respect for Marriage Act, and to combating anti-gay activities and rhetoric from political leaders and hate groups," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "This is indeed a historic moment, but we remain focused on the work ahead."