Pentagon Ready for Gay Ban Repeal on Tuesday

Sara J Dufort

For eighteen years, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has been the official policy on homosexuals in the military. The policy that was enacted under the Clinton Administration barred openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual people from military service. It prevented any homosexual person from disclosing their sexual orientation, and discharge was inevitable if they did. The policy caused controversy since it was signed, and it was not officially repealed until September 20, 2011. The pentagon however, says that the military is ready for the change, and that there will be no problems after it has passed.

According to Pentagon officials, 97% of the military has undergone training in the new law. Defense Security, Joint Chief Chairmen, and President Obama have all certified that the repeal will not undermine the effectiveness of the military recruiting. In fact, military services have been accepting application from openly gay recruits for weeks. Once it was officially lifted, the military will then process these applications.

Once the ban is lifted, the Defense Department will publish revised regulations to reflect the new laws. This lift will also mean that the military must put a stop to all pending investigations, discharges, and other administration proceedings that begun eighteen years ago.

Those who have been discharged due to their sexual orientation will be allowed to re-enlist, but the application will not be given priority over any others with prior-military experience, who are also seeking to re-enlist. House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, said on Monday that, “”Our nation will finally close the door on a fundamental unfairness for gays and lesbians, and indeed affirm equality for all Americans.”

The Pentagon was slated to have a press conference on Tuesday, the day of the repeal; otherwise, they plan to take a low-key approach to the historic day. Other people, and homosexual advocacy groups, however, are holding “Repeal Day” celebrations across the country.

Since Tuesday, active soldiers have been “coming out” to their families on places like YouTube. Soldiers who have previously been anonymous are finally showing their faces, and they are praising the repeal.

The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has been a historic decision, and there is no doubt that it will have long-term effects on those serving in the military. The repeal has made it clear that discrimination will not be tolerated, and it is hopeful that openly gay people will finally be encouraged to do their civic duty and service their country.