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Repeal. What Repeal?

Washington , D.C. (May 27th 2010) Both the US Senate Armed Services Committee and the US House stepped up their game Thursday in efforts to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT). But after reading the “Patrick Murphy” amendment I’m left wondering… Repeal. What repeal?

Both the measures taken up by the Senate Armed Services Committee and the House amendment to the defense spending bill were touted as a repeal to the 1993 ban on gays in the military. This effort has been in the news a lot lately. With Lt. Dan Choi, an openly gay soldier, chaining himself to the front gate of the White House, huge rallies held across the nation, retired Generals calling on President Obama to act now… and on and on.

After watching the House vote on C-Span, yes I’m that nerdy, I wanted to know what they just passed. When does it take effect? Is there any thought, in the amendment, to how same-sex couples will be classified? What’s the catch? The answers are baffling!

Here is the text from the actual US House DADT “Repeal”:

H.AMDT.672 (A019)
Amends: H.R.5136
Sponsor: Rep Murphy, Patrick J. [PA-8] (offered 5/27/2010)

An amendment numbered 79 printed in House Report 111-498 to repeal Dont Ask Dont Tell only after: (1) receipt of the recommendations of the Pentagon’s Comprehensive Review Working Group on how to implement a repeal of DADT (due December 1, 2010) and (2) a certification by the Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and President that repeal is first, consistent with military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion & recruiting, and second, that the DoD has prepared the necessary policies and regulations to implement its repeal. It would also include a 60 day period after certification before the repeal took effect.

So… Where’s the repeal we keep hearing about? All I see is an affirmation that if the DoD study, the President, Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs agree… then go ahead with a repeal. There’s a lot of “ifs” in there.

I understand and agree with a need for a detailed plan on how the repeal will take place and how current regulations should be changed. How many times have past and present Presidents and military leaders just run headstrong into something with out having a plan? Take the Israel Defense Force and their total LGBT integration. They did it super fast and suffered MANY problems. They ended up taking a step back and developed a 4 year plan for complete integration. Smart!

Many people have forgotten that just because DADT goes away, doesn’t mean the military will be gay-friendly. There are still tons of issues that will need to be resolved. Like base housing for same-sex couples (legally married or not), spousal benefits and rights, hate crime prevention and prosecution.

Here is a statement from Ty Redhouse, the Military/Veteran Community Liaison for Marriage Equality USA:

Today was a day to remember in the road to equality. The passing of these amendments assures that we are on our way and must keep on going; it is time to start building on these victories rather than sit back and declare that the mission has been accomplished. In truth, we still have a ways to go. While the amendment passages work to repeal the 17-year-old, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, there is still the matter of those who are currently serving and their loved ones. There is still work to be done to ensure that these brave men and women who serve in silence are looked out for as well as their partners. The repeal of DADT would mean that service members would be able to serve openly but that does not mean it will happen instantly. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members are still unable to marry their partners; they are still unable to extend military benefits to their same-sex partners. Additionally, they are still subject to investigation and dismissal until the implementation study is completed and, even then, repeal depends on the assessment and certification by the Pentagon and the White House. We are on the first steps and must keep going because the fight is not over; we cannot afford to dash the hopes for a time when a lesbian, gay, or bisexual service member can provide and protect his or her partner. With the repeal of this policy comes more goals to be accomplished: Marriage Equality is but one of many things we must strive to obtain.

As reported by JoeMyGod, Lt. Dan Choi isn’t impressed with this measure either. In response to the limited action in these repeals, Lt. Choi is on a hunger strike.

But make no mistake… this was NOT a repeal in normal since of the word. We still need to keep the pressure on our leaders. We can’t just except this If-Then action. Congress has the power to force the DoD to Repeal DADT and implement serious changes to it’s Code of Conduct/Justice.

I was also intrigued to see that 5 Republicans voted for the “Repeal” while 26 Democrats voted against it… See the full Vote Count.

On a side note, I was chatting with my buddy Jerame Davis, from Bilerico, about the “historic” game-changing vote… When he said something that laid me back in my chair. Something I hadn’t really thought about –

What’s amazing is that we’ve been trying to pass ENDA since before DADT was put in place…and we still don’t have it.”

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  1. Jerame Davis pretty much says it all…

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