Don't Ask, Don't Tell - US: No Big Changes Needed to End Gay Military Ban

Ask and Tell: Gay and Lesbian Veterans Speak Out
US: No Big Changes Needed to End Gay Military Ban
Saturday, January 29th, 2011 - VOA

The U.S. Defense Department says that ending the ban on gays serving openly in the military will require no major policy changes and that training for commanders and troops under the new rules will begin next month.

Pentagon officials made the comment Friday as they discussed implementation of the repeal of the law known as “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.” The remarks came as Defense Secretary Robert Gates released a memo calling the changes “a milestone event” for the armed services.

The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General James Cartwright, told reporters that he expects the military to move expeditiously to train the bulk of its units, and that a year for completion is a good goal. General Cartwright, however, acknowledged there could be challenges along the way.

Authorities say members of the military would be expected to treat all their colleagues “with dignity and respect” and ensure maintenance of good order and discipline.

In December, U.S. President Barack Obama fulfilled one of his 2008 campaign promises by signing a bill to overturn a 1993 policy requiring gays and lesbian service members to keep their sexual orientation quiet. Those discovered to be gay faced dismissal.

The president signed the repeal days after Congress passed the new law.

Final implementation, however, will take effect 60 days after the president and his senior defense advisers certify that lifting the ban will not hurt the ability of troops to fight.

In his State of the Union speech this past Tuesday, President Obama said repeal of the legislation barring gays from openly serving in the military means that starting this year, no Americans will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of whom they love.

US: No Big Changes Needed to End Gay Military Ban
Article from VOA

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