Yesterday, the Pentagon has begun what I hope is Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’s slow march into ancient history:

The Pentagon announced Thursday that it will relax enforcement of the "don’t ask, don’t tell" rules that prevent gays from serving openly in the military, a decision that officials described as a temporary measure until Congress can take permanent action.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said the military will no longer open investigations into the sexual orientation of service members based on anonymous complaints, will restrict testimony from third parties and will require high-ranking officers to review all cases.

The changes will take effect immediately.

This is a long time coming, and it will likely be a long time finishing, as well, as John Aravosis explains:

Our best chance to repeal DADT is this year. In the State of the Union, the President promised to do it this year:

This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.

We expect and need it to happen this year. But, Gates just undermined those efforts with the statement:

I do not recommend a change in the law before we have completed our study.

Gates did acknowledge that the study is about "how" to repeal the law, not "whether" to repeal it. The law should be repealed this year with a delayed implementation until the study is completed. That idea, first proposed by Servicemembers United ("Set End-date / Delayed Implementation"), would serve the needs of all the parties.

I expect DADT to go the way of history, but clearly, while the Pentagon is making some important changes immediately, it is still slow walking a legislative repeal. But one day, DADT will no longer be the law of the land and homosexuals can finally serve their country with honesty and honor.

Jason Rosenbaum

Jason Rosenbaum

Writer, musician, activist. Currently consulting for Bill Halter for U.S. Senate and a fellow at the New Organizing Institute.

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