Kudos to Judge Virginia Phillips for the injunction against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the controversial (and asinine) policy that bans openly gay people from serving in the military, and prevents the military from questioning servicemembers’ sexuality. The injunction stops any current proceedings against servicemembers who have violated the policy.
There is a 60 day window to appeal the decision and if the Justice Department decides not to then essentially it will signify the end of DADT which the Obama administration says they ultimately support. Many Democratic leaders, including Senators Harry Reid and Barney Frank, are urging the president to wait before making a decision so that it can be addressed in the lame-duck session of Congress which will be after mid-term elections. The House has previously passed a repeal of DADT but the Senate Republicans have blocked efforts to eliminate the policy. This is becoming a delicate dance for Obama to balance the concerns of the gay rights community and social conservatives.
This policy still boggles my mind, especially considering we still have a large military presence in Afghanistan where soldiers are doing multiple tours of duty. Wouldn’t we want more hands on deck? Strength in numbers? Our NATO allies allow openly gay servicemembers and the Christian Science Monitor reports that there have been no reported complaints between U.S. soldiers and their gay international counterparts. Our policies are behind the curve and since 1993 over 14,000 servicemembers have been discharged because of DADT.
I do wonder how this will affect homophobia within the ranks of the armed forces. It’s clearly there already, thinly veiled under policies that ask people to hide and ignore their and others’ truths. If DADT is repealed, how is that going to affect openly gay servicemembers in their day to day interactions with their colleagues? Will there be the same pushback and harassment that women (still) receive? I fully support policy change and if DADT becomes DOA, there needs to be conscious efforts made towards tolerance in attitudes and behaviors.