Gates: Repeal of DADT shouldn’t be a problem
Defense Secretary Robert Gates predicted that gay troops will be successfully integrated into the U.S. military, following yesterday’s vote in the Senate to end the 17-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
By a vote of 65 to 31, the Senate cleared the way for the legislation to go next to President Barack Obama for his signature. Before the new policy takes effect, the Defense Department must draft regulations and the president and military leaders must certify that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military for the first time won’t hurt the nation’s war efforts.
“I am convinced that the U.S. military can successfully accommodate and implement this change, as it has others in history,” Gates said in a written statement yesterday. He said a change in policy will “take an additional period of time.”
More than 14,000 service members have been discharged for being gay since 1993, according to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a gay-rights advocacy group.
Obama, who promised to repeal the 1993 law, praised the Senate action as an important civil-rights victory.
“It is time to recognize that sacrifice, valor and integrity are no more defined by sexual orientation than they are by race or gender, religion or creed,” he said in a written statement.