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Home arrow News arrow National News arrow news arrow SLDN Provides Formal Recommendations to Pentagon on Implementation of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal
SLDN Provides Formal Recommendations to Pentagon on Implementation of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal PDF Print E-mail
Sep 14, 2010 at 10:02 AM

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network releases recommendations to Comprehensive Review Working Group

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a national, legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), released a set of formal recommendations today to the Comprehensive Review Working Group, established to author a report on “how” to implement repeal, not “if” repeal should happen.  On or before December 1, the Pentagon Working Group is required to submit its report to the Secretary of Defense.  Meanwhile, advocates continue pressing their senators to vote for repeal next week.  Last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced he intends to schedule a floor vote next week.

“The SLDN implementation paper provided to General Ham and DOD General Johnson outlines the only changes that are necessary to repeal DADT, underscoring that the key leaders of the Defense Department must make a certification, among other things, ‘that the Department of Defense has prepared the necessary policies and regulations to (permit repeal),’”
said Aubrey Sarvis, Army veteran and executive director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. “The only essential changes to permit repeal are the elimination of the DOD policies and regulations that actually effectuate ‘DADT.’  After the Department has prepared these ‘necessary policies and regulations’, each service must conform its regulations to them.  This can be done in the 60-days period between certification and the effective date of repeal.  While there are other areas of interest, no action is required by the Pentagon to move forward on implementation.  But what is required now is for the Senate to act this month if this is going to get done this year.”

To read the full report with the Executive Summary visit:
http://bit.ly/cWexAp

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

This memorandum discusses legal issues related to repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the steps the armed services should take in connection with repeal. These issues and the steps required to resolve them are of two types. The first are those changes that are necessary to effectuate repeal. These are simple and straightforward. The second are changes that the military should make as the result of repeal. These are more extensive, but can be implemented in the months following repeal.

The bills that were passed by the House of Representatives and reported by the Senate Armed Services Committee provide that repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” becomes effective 60 days after the President, Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify, among other things, “[t]hat the Department of Defense has prepared the necessary policies and regulations to [permit repeal].” The only changes that are necessary to permit repeal are the elimination of the DoD policies and regulations that actually effectuate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. After DoD has prepared these “necessary policies and regulations,” each service must conform its regulations to them. This can be done in the 60-day period between certification and the effective date of repeal.

Between certification and the effectiveness of repeal 60 days later, the armed forces should begin to communicate the new policy throughout the ranks worldwide. The new policy statement should be short and direct — stated in affirmative, simple, non-legalistic terms that are easily understood.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will still be the law during this 60-day period and cannot be ignored. However, during this period, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” investigations should not be initiated or discharges ordered unless the service secretary finds that there is substantial evidence that the conduct alleged violated the UCMJ.  Once repeal has become effective, there are a number of changes the armed services should make to adapt to the new environment.

KEY POINTS
:

Adopt a policy of nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation. This is necessary in light of the history of past discrimination. This is easy — simply add sexual orientation to the Human Goals Charter, the Military Equal Opportunity program and associated training programs.

Recognize that gay and lesbian service members have partners and children. The armed services should allow service members to identify their same-sex domestic partners and the children of these relationships in their personnel records. This is important for identification of next of kin, security issues and deployment readiness.

To the extent possible, treat gay and lesbian service members like their straight comrades with respect to pay, benefits and family support services. The Defense of Marriage Act prevents equal treatment. To the extent that DoD has the ability to recognize same-sex relationships for the purposes of pay, benefits and family support services, it should do so.

Allow service members discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to rejoin the armed forces if they are otherwise qualified for re-accession. The services should train military personnel specialists to handle applications from discharged service members and give them the authority to amend the applicants’ records to permit re-accession if the former service member is otherwise qualified.

Adopt streamlined procedures for service members discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and prior homosexual conduct policies to have their discharge records amended. Re-entry codes and discharge characterizations are important to former service members, for both personal and employment reasons. Streamlined procedures should be instituted to have their records changed.

Adopt rules that require a single standard of conduct by all personnel and relating to all personnel, regardless of their sexual orientation. Conduct that is permissible in the military between a man and woman should be permissible between people of the same sex. Conduct that is not permissible, should be prohibited for all.

Repeal Article 125 of the UCMJ (sodomy), consistent with the recommendations of the Cox Commission. Other fine-tuning of certain UCMJ provisions may also be advisable.

Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will have no implications for transgender service members. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” does not affect transgender service members (unless they are also gay or lesbian), and its repeal won’t either.

Repeal will have no effect on military chaplains. They operate today in a pluralistic environment, ministering to service members, in many cases, with whom they do not agree and of whom they do not approve. It will be no different after repeal.

Repeal will not require special accommodations or differential treatment. Gays and lesbian service members will not need to be given special treatment in the military. Straight service members should deal with them as they would anyone else.

To read the full report with the Executive Summary visit:
http://bit.ly/cWexAp

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (
www.sldn.org) is a national, non-profit legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”


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