WASHINGTON - The recent repeal of ”don’t ask don’t tell” (DADT) encountered a potentially significant setback when the House Armed Services Committee approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Bill of Fiscal Year 2012 that would slow down the process of repeal.
The Leadership Conference reports, President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, along with more than 310 members of Congress, approved a repeal of DADT in December. The amendment would delay implementation by requiring all four Joint Chiefs of Staff to determine if the repeal of DADT would diminish combat readiness.
This amendment comes despite the publication of a Pentagon study last year that found the impact of repealing the military’s ban on openly gay servicemembers would pose little risk to military effectiveness.
“These votes should be a wake-up call to supporters of open service that our work is not done,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). “Our commitment to timely certification and repeal must be redoubled as we move to the House floor to defend the progress we have made to ensure that LGB patriots can defend and serve the country they love with honesty and integrity.”
SLDN recently released a letter signed by 85 civil and human rights organizations urging House members to oppose any and all amendments offered to the National Defense Authorization Act that would threaten the repeal of DADT. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights supports the immediate repeal of DADT and opposes any efforts to delay its implementation.
“As the process moves forward, we call on all lawmakers to stop these side shows and get back to the real work on which Americans so desperately want them to focus,” said said Joe Somoneses, president of the Human Rights Campaign, in a statement.
The National Defense Authorization bill is expected to be considered on the floor of the House of Representatives in early June.