America

Don't-Ask Phase Out Pact Reached By Obama, Congress

The controversial Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell policy that bans gays from serving openly in the armed services appears to be a step closer to repeal with President Barack Obama and congressional committee chairs with oversight on military matters agreeing Monday to a plan to repeal the law.

According to reports, the agreement could mean a vote to repeal the law that's been in place since 1993 as early as this week.

While the vote could occur within days, the agreement would require the president as commander-in-chief and the Pentagon to certify that the new policy wouldn't harm military readiness.

DADT has been the controversial since its inception during the Clinton Administration. It has led to a number of service members being dismissed after they or someone else revealed their same sex sexual preference.

An excerpt of a statement issued by the Human Rights Campaign:

WASHINGTON — The ban on open military service by lesbian and gay Americans is on a path to repeal this week with the White House, Pentagon leaders and Congress outlining a process that includes votes in the House and Senate as early as Thursday. Legislation to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" will be considered as amendments to the National Defense Authorization bill — the same vehicle by which the law was enacted 17 years ago. The Obama administration endorsed the approach today in a letter to Congressional leaders from Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag.

"We are on the brink of historic action to both strengthen our military and respect the service of lesbian and gay troops," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Today's announcement paves the path to fulfill the President's call to end 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' this year and puts us one step closer to removing this stain from the laws of our nation."

The proposal would allow Congress to vote to repeal the current DADT law now with implementation to follow upon completion of the Pentagon Working Group study due December 1, 2010. The President, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs would need to certify that implementation policies and regulations are prepared and that they are consistent with standards for readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion, recruiting and retention. The plan therefore addresses concerns expressed by the Pentagon that the implementation study process be respected.

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