The White House, congressional leaders, the Pentagon and gay rights activists have hammered out a deal that could finally end the military’s ban on gays serving openly. A vote could come as soon as this week, but the ban would remain until the president and military leaders agreed to lift it.
Such a decision would almost certainly wait until the Pentagon completed a review of the policy by Dec. 1, and possibly much longer.
Servicemembers United Executive Director Alexander Nicholson said in a release, “This announcement from the White House today is long awaited, much needed, and immensely helpful as we enter a critical phase of the battle to repeal the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law.”
Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said, “Today’s announcement paves the path to fulfill the President’s call to end ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ this year and puts us one step closer to removing this stain from the laws of our nation. ... A solution has emerged: Congress needs to vote to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ now.”
Though he is commander in chief, the president does not have the power to end “don’t ask, don’t tell.” If lawmakers pass this compromise, as amendments to the national defense authorization bill, they will essentially transfer the authority to the president and military leaders. —PZS
Even if the compromise language passes, a legislative repeal would go into effect only after Obama certifies that the change does not harm the nation’s military readiness.
[...] Some Democrats, particularly in the House, wanted to wait for the completion of the Pentagon’s study, while other, more liberal Democrats had been pushing for an immediate repeal. The compromise is designed to satisfy both concerns.
“We can live with this, and we’re asking enthusiastically members to support and vote for it,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
US Army / Mike Strasser