At 6-Month Mark, DADT Repeal "Proceeding Smoothly"

BY Advocate.com Editors

March 20 2012 10:15 AM ET

Though it's unclear what specific requirements or measurements they are using, Defense Department officials say that repeal implementation is “proceeding smoothly” across the ranks, in part the result of “service members' adherence to core values that include discipline and respect.”

“As part of this monitoring process, the Services and Combatant Commands provide regular status reports to the DoD senior leadership,” Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez said in a statement. “These reports include assessments on the effects of repeal on readiness, unit cohesion, effectiveness, recruiting and retention.”

Repeal observers say monthly engagement with commanders in the field is likely, given that congressional authorizing committees will ask for reporting from Defense Department officials, perhaps at the 12-month mark. There are currently no such hearings scheduled, though it’s possible the issue could be brought up in other hearings not specific to DADT: The Senate Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on personnel is scheduled to meet next month, for example, and could address ongoing repeal.

The Republican-controlled House Armed Services Committee, said one Hill source, is unlikely to hold a hearing devoted to the matter. “They wouldn’t hear from the service secretaries or from [Defense] Secretary [Leon] Panetta what they would want to hear. It wouldn’t be a win for them.”

Not everyone in the Armed Forces is on board with repeal, of course. Though about 5% of respondents in the Military Times poll said an individual coming out in their unit had a positive effect, about one fifth of respondents said a fellow service member’s coming out had a negative impact.

And some in the latter category have not been silent about their disapproval. When a photograph of Sgt. Brandon Morgan kissing his partner at a Hawaii Marine base upon his return from a six-month deployment to Afghanistan went viral last month, Master Sgt. Corey Wade, stationed in Kandahar, called the image “disgusting and outrageous” in a letter to the editor of Stars & Stripes, which had run the photo.

“The vast majority of military members I know do not support homosexuality in the military in any way, let alone homosexuality on its own,” Wade wrote. “Yet the voices of opposition to homosexuality continue to not be heard by biased media outlets. ... I can’t always choose who I room with. But as a Christian, it goes against my faith and the clear word of God (for those Christians who disagree, blow the dust off your Bibles and take a read) to practice such an act; it is clearly a sin.”

Repeal opponents, some who spoke of “harmful consequences” in the days after military officials gave the green light for ending DADT, have largely cast their own continued disapproval for open service not along the lines of threats to unit cohesion, but of threatened religious liberty — a common thread employed by both Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich on the campaign trail (the candidates compete with Mitt Romney in the Illinois primary Tuesday).

“The entire administration ... has imposed ‘zero tolerance’ policies against persons who are not enthusiastic supporters of LGBT law,” Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness and an antigay pundit whose television appearances have waned in the post-repeal era, told Stars & Stripes. “This is what we predicted, but the effects will not be seen quickly, especially in an election year.”















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