Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell persists despite publicity

Joel Taylor, Veteran Of Operation Iraqi Freedomand Isu Alumnus

While many individuals and organizations are patting themselves on their backs and congratulating themselves for the votes that occurred in Congress today, the facts remain the same: Nothing has changed.

For the 66,000 men and women in the military that live under the silence of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the threat of discharge continues. There’s no date set for lifting the policy, or even a requirement for the Pentagon to lift the policy.

Instead, Congress voted that if the president, the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sign a letter to Congress stating that they have reviewed changes to regulations for an end to DADT — designed by the Pentagon after reviewing the study due to the secretary of defense in December — that no further action would be needed.

They lobbed a softball. They had the chance to halt discharges pending the outcome of Pentagon decisions made after the study. They had the chance to end DADT once and for all without waiting for the study.

But they didn’t do that. They decided to provide a facade in the hopes of keeping the gay vote. In fact, the amendment went so far as to advise that no changes to service members’ benefits would be required for those with partners due to the Defense of Marriage Act. A short way to make sure that lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered service members will still be 2nd Class citizens if a day comes that DADT is repealed.

So, for those happy for the vote, go ahead and congratulate yourself. Go ahead and make talk about baby steps and progress. Just 66,000 service members will continue to serve without a voice and under the threat of discharge.