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DADT Repeal certified. 60 days left. Now needs Executive Order on nondiscrimination.

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I know the Obama administration is receiving accolades for doing this. There are lots of press releases flying around. But, frankly, the President and his team should be thanking everyone who made this happen last year. A lot of people bear a lot of scars (and handcuff marks) for pushing so hard to have a vote in 2010, instead of waiting til 2011. When Gates told Congress he didn't want any legislation considered til after his study was completed, he meant 2011, not the lame duck. If he'd left it up to Jim Messina, we'd be fighting for repeal this year, instead of saying good-bye to DADT. Ending DADT is considered one of the biggest progressive achievements of Obama's presidency. It's important to remember how this really happened. John and I had a front row seat. Mike Signorile wrote a great piece debunking the attempts to rewrite history earlier this year. It's worth another read.

The White House statement:

Today, we have taken the final major step toward ending the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law that undermines our military readiness and violates American principles of fairness and equality. In accordance with the legislation that I signed into law last December, I have certified and notified Congress that the requirements for repeal have been met. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will end, once and for all, in 60 days—on September 20, 2011.

As Commander in Chief, I have always been confident that our dedicated men and women in uniform would transition to a new policy in an orderly manner that preserves unit cohesion, recruitment, retention and military effectiveness. Today’s action follows extensive training of our military personnel and certification by Secretary Panetta and Admiral Mullen that our military is ready for repeal. As of September 20th, service members will no longer be forced to hide who they are in order to serve our country. Our military will no longer be deprived of the talents and skills of patriotic Americans just because they happen to be gay or lesbian.

I want to commend our civilian and military leadership for moving forward in the careful and deliberate manner that this change requires, especially with our nation at war. I want to thank all our men and women in uniform, including those who are gay or lesbian, for their professionalism and patriotism during this transition. Every American can be proud that our extraordinary troops and their families, like earlier generations that have adapted to other changes, will only grow stronger and remain the best fighting force in the world and a reflection of the values of justice and equality that the define us as Americans.
But, the battle for full equality is not quite over, as SLDN points out:
Sarvis warned that the repeal of DADT is just one important milestone along the journey to achieving LGB equality in America’s military, and he renewed the organization’s call for the President to issue an executive order prohibiting discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Such an order would give LGBT service members recourse outside their chain of command if they are experiencing discrimination or harassment.

“Every service member deserves equal respect in the work environment. Signing legislation that allows for repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was necessary, but it is not sufficient for ensuring equality in the military. It’s critical that gay and lesbian service members have the same avenues for recourse as their straight counterparts when it comes to harassment and discrimination,” said Sarvis.
The nondiscrimination language was removed as part of a compromise craft by CAP's Winnie Stachelberg.

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