Friday, July 22, 2011

20 September 2011 the death of DADT.

Today President Obama joined the Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen certified the repeal of the unjust Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT). The clock now starts ticking for the sixty day time period after certification. On 20 September 2011 gays and lesbians will be able to serve openly in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Obviously this is of immense significance for gay/lesbian members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their loved ones. It is also a huge “game changer” for the national debate on Marriage Equality, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act [ENDA] and the repeal of the unconstitutional and falsely named Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA].

In 1947 President Harry S. Truman desegregated the U.S. Civil Service and the U.S. Armed Forces. That decision set in motion changes in social attitudes. Those changing attitudes helped to usher in tectonic social changes in America. The landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education that ordered the desegregation of schools and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are both connect to Truman’s courageous Executive Order of 1947.

Imagine the impact that the repeal of DADT will have in “military towns” across America. Suddenly locals will see Marines, Soldiers, Airmen and Sailors who are gay/lesbian. Inductees into basic training will be formed to be respectful of service members with same-sex orientations. These values will become engrained and affect civil society.

Sunday the State of New York will recognize Same-sex marriages. This is a huge victory for Marriage Equality nationally, since New York is one of America’s most populace and influential states. In September the California Supreme Court will issue an opinion regarding the standing of the “Yes on Prop 8” proponents to appeal Judge Walker’s ruling striking down Prop 8 in California.

Make no mistake, there remain many battles to be fought until Full Federal Equality for LGBT people is achieved. Beyond that happy day, there will still be many struggles to end bullying and bigotry in our nation. However, it is good to celebrate and draw strength from today’s victory.


Yanz said...

Although this repeal came too late for my husband, I am happy to see future soldiers unburdened by DADT. For those who complain Obama hasn't done enough, step back, examine what's happened since his Presidency and take perspective of what's been achieved.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Tal said...

This has been a long time in coming. It reminds me of Winston Churchill's quip: "You can always count on Americans to do the right thing--after they've tried everything else."

That certainly has proven true for DADT. But the bottom line: as a country, we do the right thing. This has been a significant step in the right direction. Hopefully, Father Geoff, as you predict, it'll turn out to be more of a leap.

The Administration has my gratitude for getting this done, even if it was accomplished through layered bureaucracy, polls and certifications (not quite Truman's dramatic gesture, be effective all the same).