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 News Article

Ruling Allows Openly Gay Men, Women to Sign Up

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2010 – Openly gay men and lesbian women now can apply to join the military, Defense Department officials said today.

The department issued guidance Oct. 15 to process paperwork for openly gay men or lesbian applicants. The instructions come from a California federal judge’s decision that the so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law is unconstitutional.

On Oct. 12, U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips enjoined DOD “immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation or other proceeding that may have commenced under the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Act or its implementing regulations.”

Pentagon officials said the department will abide by the judge’s order, and that part of that compliance is allowing openly gay people to apply to join the military. But citing uncertainty over final disposition of the matter in the courts and on Capitol Hill, a DOD spokeswoman said potential applicants must be aware that the situation may change.

“Recruiters are reminded to set the applicants’ expectations by informing them that a reversal in the court’s decision of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law/policy may occur,” Cynthia Smith said.

Phillips said yesterday that she is leaning against granting the government’s request for a stay of her order. The Justice Department has indicated it will appeal her decision declaring the law unconstitutional to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Defense Department wants a deliberative, long-range look at any changes in the law, said Pentagon spokesman Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates set up a working group to examine the ramifications of a possible repeal of the law that bars gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. The group is scheduled to submit its report Dec. 1.

“The review that is going on would look at all the far-ranging impacts of what changing the law would mean,” Lapan said.

A long-range plan for changing the law would include a period of transition to conduct training, to ensure that everybody was informed about new policies and procedures, Lapan explained.

“In the current environment with the stay, you don’t have the time to go through all these processes and make sure you determine what effect this has on housing, benefits, training on individuals across the board,” he said.

The legislative remedy would allow that work to move forward, Lapan said, as the department would have “the chance to study the impacts, to get the input from the force and to make adjustments and changes before an abrupt change in the law occurs.”

Lapan said it is too early to draw any conclusions about Phillips’ stay and what is happening in the force.

“I would caution against conclusions made from just a few days of having a stay in place,” he said. “A repeal of the law will have far-reaching effects. Now we are sort of in a holding pattern on discharges and proceedings related to enforcing the current law.”


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The opinions expressed in the following comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense.

12/3/2010 6:12:27 PM
What do you people mean the repeal of this law will allow gays to serve? They have always served. Obviously some 'gay rights groups' and their wealthy supporters have to be paid back by Obama before his term is over, which I hope is soon. My father served his life in the Marines; I worked during the Vietnam war at a military facility sending messages to the nok. I married a Vietnam veteran who died after coming home. I have always, always known gays in the military. The military is not a social group. It is an entity of our government with Obama being their commander-in-chief, that has different rules and laws that demand strict enforcement and the utmost of respect. Let this happen and watch it go down the tubes with the rest of the country. And we will be able to thank Obama and his adminstration for it. But again, as I said, he was bought and paid for and must pay these people back.
- DMMiller, North America

10/20/2010 11:41:50 PM
I'm very sorry this issue has come to this. I served ten years with great honor and I feel this issue is not for a judge to decide, but for those of use who came before. The veterans and those serving should have been giving this one time demcratic opportunity to let it decided and see what the truly right decision. Good Luck and God Bless to those of you who still Honor the Values and don't expect Rights.
- Phillip Weyeneth, Lincoln, NE

10/20/2010 8:15:00 PM
So, now if a person admits to being openly gay, has taken an oath of office, how do they respond when asked if they comply with the UCMJ, 925 art. 125, Sodomy? Under DADT, we looked the otherway. Now the question can be asked directly. Definitely a catch-22 with potential unintended consequenses.
- Steve, DC

10/20/2010 7:33:31 PM
I beleive that anyone swhould have the right to fight, and die for their country, as long as they don't try to convert me. However, don't ask and don't do not prevent gays from serving in the US Military. This policy was adopped by President Clinton, because the Congress would not over turn the law that prohibited gays in the military. If this policy is over turned, it would allow the question to be asked. The law need to be changed , not the policy that allowed gays in the military.

10/20/2010 3:44:30 AM
If is ok for me to used the male showers with openly gay male soldier's. This meam I am allow to used the female showers too Yeahhhhh
- Ralf, Alaska

10/20/2010 1:53:04 AM
Psychology Morals. Socilogy Mores. The "Widely Accepted," will not accept - period. An objective, nuetral, impartial; statement of fact. The DoD already knows this, however continue 'not' to advise the President on the specific reasons i.e. "lessons learned," because "lessons learned" were established to prevent 'family' from hurting mom, dad, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandma, and grandpa. The DoD is; my family, your family, and it's very difficult to watch 'family' make another mistake. The DoD is; of the people, by the people, for the people. The 'people' are; the masses, the widely accepted. Following orders? Justice Jackson didn't buy that either and, "The Supreme Court of The Land" knows that too. Advise the President coreectly so, the 'people' benefit. - advice only.
- Mr. Stuart Long, United States

10/19/2010 10:52:05 PM
Having served many years in two branches, I can tell you this is completely a NON issue. The question here is not whether gays and lesbians can serve and serve well in the military (as we all know they have and can), it's simply to allow them to talk freely about their familes without the fear of losing their careers - the same rights afforded to all others. The military has a Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), and anyone that violates any of the codes is subject to punishment. Whether black, white, gay, straight, democrat, republican, left handed, Christian or non, if you are a soldier, you must strictly adhere to the UCMJ. Other countries have adopted inclusive policies years ago and to date, none have imploded! When you attend the funeral of a soldier who fought and died for your freedoms, does it really matter who they loved while doing so?
- Jason,

10/19/2010 6:56:12 PM
Mr Gates, What good was the poll you had mailed to active duty memebers asking their opions, This was a way the Adminstration got the DADT policy reveresed without looking like the bad guy, They had the Liberal Judge from Cali (you cound't find a more liberal state to get the ruling from) to say the rule should be no more, Hmmmm let me think,,,why didn't this judge make a rule 7 years ago, could it be because the Bush adminstration didn't ask her to do so, unlike the Obama adminstration just did. now the democrates got something done they promised by not even making a ruling or even taking a vote. Corrupt poltics, please excuse my spelling I;m very upset with our leadership, your not looking out for us, your looking out for the politcal life of the Adminstration
- Mike Rohland, Savannah, GA

10/19/2010 5:37:01 PM
I wish you would all just man up and tell the public the truth. All that have served in the military know that allowing people to serve openly will not work. After proudly serving 21 1/2 years in the Marines, I would have never believed that you would put this level of political correctness over the legitimate concerns that one should have for the young Marines that live in the barracks. Has it been so long that we have forgotten about the dynamics associated with living in the barracks. I have no recourse at my disposal, I wish that I did, the only thing that I can do is stop encouraging individuals to join the military. I will also lobby all of my friends that are prior service to do the same. I hope that this displeasure will spread like a wild fire. My heart is broken. Semper Fidelis, Rubin B. Googe Jr. MSgt USMC (Ret.)
- Rubin Googe, California

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