Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010

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The Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 is a landmark federal statute
Law of the United States
The law of the United States consists of many levels of codified and uncodified forms of law, of which the most important is the United States Constitution, the foundation of the federal government of the United States...

 that establishes a legal process for ending the Don't ask, don't tell
Don't ask, don't tell
"Don't ask, don't tell" was the official United States policy on homosexuals serving in the military from December 21, 1993 to September 20, 2011. The policy prohibited military personnel from discriminating against or harassing closeted homosexual or bisexual service members or applicants, while...

 (DADT) policy , which since 1993 prevented openly gay and lesbian people from serving in the United States Armed Forces
United States armed forces
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

.

The Act did not immediately repeal the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. According to the Congressional Research Service
Congressional Research Service
The Congressional Research Service , known as "Congress's think tank", is the public policy research arm of the United States Congress. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS works exclusively and directly for Members of Congress, their Committees and staff on a...

, the Act:
Provides for repeal of the current Department of Defense (DOD) policy concerning homosexuality in the Armed Forces, to be effective 60 days after the Secretary of Defense has received DOD's comprehensive review on the implementation of such repeal, and the President, Secretary, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) certify to the congressional defense committees that they have considered the report and proposed plan of action, that DOD has prepared the necessary policies and regulations to exercise the discretion provided by such repeal, and that implementation of such policies and regulations is consistent with the standards of military readiness and effectiveness, unit cohesion, and military recruiting and retention.


The Act did not replace DADT with a ban on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the military, as provided for in the proposed Military Readiness Enhancement Act
Military Readiness Enhancement Act
The Military Readiness Enhancement Act is a bill introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives in the 109th and 110th Congress by Marty Meehan and the 111th Congress by Ellen Tauscher...

.

President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

, Defense Secretary
United States Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of Defense is the head and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense of the United States of America. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in other countries...

 Leon Panetta
Leon Panetta
Leon Edward Panetta is the 23rd and current United States Secretary of Defense, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama since 2011. Prior to taking office, he served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency...

, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is by law the highest ranking military officer in the United States Armed Forces, and is the principal military adviser to the President of the United States, the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council and the Secretary of Defense...

 Admiral
Admiral (United States)
In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, admiral is a four-star flag officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. Admiral ranks above vice admiral and below Fleet Admiral in the Navy; the Coast Guard and the Public Health...

 Mike Mullen provided the certification required by the Act to Congress that on July 22, 2011. Implementation of repeal was completed 60 days later, so that DADT was no longer policy as of September 20, 2011.

Legislative history


Originally the Democratic leadership in both the House and Senate intended to end the "don't ask, don't tell" policy with an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill. However, the defense bill failed to clear a Republican filibuster in the Senate due to objections of the procedures from which the bill was being debated. In response, Senator Joe Lieberman
Joe Lieberman
Joseph Isadore "Joe" Lieberman is the senior United States Senator from Connecticut. A former member of the Democratic Party, he was the party's nominee for Vice President in the 2000 election. Currently an independent, he remains closely affiliated with the party.Born in Stamford, Connecticut,...

 introduced the stand-alone repeal bill in the Senate, and Congressman Patrick Murphy
Patrick Murphy (politician)
Patrick Joseph Murphy is the former U.S. Representative for , serving from 2007 to 2011. He is a member of the Democratic Party....

 introduced the same bill in the House.

The Act was passed by the House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 on December 15, 2010, with a vote of 250 to 175, and by the Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 on December 18, 2010, with a vote of 65 to 31. President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 signed the bill into law on December 22, 2010.

Senate roll call


State Senator Party Vote on
Cloture
Cloture
In parliamentary procedure, cloture is a motion or process aimed at bringing debate to a quick end. It is also called closure or, informally, a guillotine. The cloture procedure originated in the French National Assembly, from which the name is taken. Clôture is French for "ending" or "conclusion"...

 
Vote on
Repeal
Hawaii  Democratic Aye Aye
Tennessee  Republican No No
Wyoming  Republican No No
Montana  Democratic Aye Aye
Indiana  Democratic Aye Aye
Alaska  Democratic Aye Aye
Colorado  Democratic Aye Aye
Utah  Republican No No
New Mexico  Democratic Aye Aye
Missouri  Republican No No
California  Democratic Aye Aye
Ohio  Democratic Aye Aye
Massachusetts  Republican Aye Aye
Kansas  Republican No No
Kentucky  Republican Did not vote Did not vote
North Carolina  Republican No Aye
Washington  Democratic Aye Aye
Maryland  Democratic Aye Aye
Delaware  Democratic Aye Aye
Pennsylvania  Democratic Aye Aye
Georgia  Republican No No
Oklahoma  Republican No No
Mississippi  Republican No No
Maine  Republican Aye Aye
North Dakota  Democratic Aye Aye
Delaware  Democratic Aye Aye
Tennessee  Republican No No
Texas  Republican No No
Idaho  Republican No No
South Carolina  Republican No No
Connecticut  Democratic Aye Aye
North Dakota  Democratic Aye Aye
Illinois  Democratic Aye Aye
Nevada  Republican No Aye
Wyoming  Republican No No
Wisconsin  Democratic Aye Aye
California  Democratic Aye Aye
Minnesota  Democratic Aye Aye
New York  Democratic Aye Aye
South Carolina  Republican No No
Iowa  Republican No No
Republican Did not vote Did not vote
North Carolina  Democratic Aye Aye
Iowa  Democratic Aye Aye
Utah  Republican Did not vote Did not vote
Texas  Republican No No
Oklahoma  Republican No No
Hawaii  Democratic Aye Aye
Georgia  Republican No No
Nebraska  Republican No No
South Dakota  Democratic Aye Aye
Massachusetts  Democratic Aye Aye
Illinois  Republican Aye Aye
Minnesota  Democratic Aye Aye
Wisconsin  Democratic Aye Aye
Arizona  Republican No No
Louisiana  Democratic Aye Aye
New Jersey  Democratic Aye Aye
Vermont  Democratic Aye Aye
Florida  Republican No No
Michigan  Democratic Aye Aye
Connecticut  Independent Aye Aye
Arkansas  Democratic Aye Aye
Indiana  Republican No No
West Virginia  Democratic Did not vote Did not vote
Arizona  Republican No No
Missouri  Democratic Aye Aye
Kentucky  Republican No No
New Jersey  Democratic Aye Aye
Oregon  Democratic Aye Aye
Maryland  Democratic Aye Aye
Alaska  Republican Aye Aye
Washington  Democratic Aye Aye
Nebraska  Democratic Aye Aye
Florida  Democratic Aye Aye
Arkansas  Democratic Aye Aye
Rhode Island  Democratic Aye Aye
Nevada  Democratic Aye Aye
Idaho  Republican No No
Kansas  Republican No No
West Virginia  Democratic Aye Aye
Vermont  Independent Aye Aye
New York  Democratic Aye Aye
Alabama  Republican No No
New Hampshire  Democratic Aye Aye
Alabama  Republican No No
Maine  Republican Aye Aye
Pennsylvania  Democratic Aye Aye
Michigan  Democratic Aye Aye
Montana  Democratic Aye Aye
South Dakota  Republican No No
Colorado  Democratic Aye Aye
New Mexico  Democratic Aye Aye
Louisiana  Republican No No
Ohio  Republican Aye Aye
Virginia  Democratic Aye Aye
Virginia  Democratic Aye Aye
Rhode Island  Democratic Aye Aye
Mississippi  Republican No No
Oregon  Democratic Aye Aye

Implementation



Following the signing of the bill into law by U.S. President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

, the Department of Defense will commission a committee, led by Clifford Stanley, which will itself commission a comprehensive review of current policies, the repeal and whether the newer status quo will be consistent with the goals of, in the words of Robert Gates
Robert Gates
Dr. Robert Michael Gates is a retired civil servant and university president who served as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011. Prior to this, Gates served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and under President George H. W....

, "military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion
Unit cohesion
Unit cohesion is a military concept, defined by one former United States Chief of staff in the early 1980s as "the bonding together of soldiers in such a way as to sustain their will and commitment to each other, the unit, and mission accomplishment, despite combat or mission stress"...

, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces." The reception of the review by Gates, Adm. Mike Mullen and President Obama will begin the 60-day waiting period for the Department of Defense, after which the detailed reforms will be incrementally implemented through a potential variety of initiatives in a top-down direction.

It is not known if ongoing or future discharges of openly gay or bisexual service members will cease upon Obama's signature, after the 60-day period following the reception of the comprehensive review, or at some later point. The law is expected, by the Department of Defense and supportive legislators, to result in full implementation within the military structure by the end of 2011.

It is also not known exactly how Section 925 of the United States Code (also known as Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice
Uniform Code of Military Justice
The Uniform Code of Military Justice , is the foundation of military law in the United States. It is was established by the United States Congress in accordance with the authority given by the United States Constitution in Article I, Section 8, which provides that "The Congress shall have Power . ....

)—the ban on sodomy
Sodomy
Sodomy is an anal or other copulation-like act, especially between male persons or between a man and animal, and one who practices sodomy is a "sodomite"...

 among service members—will be affected by the repeal of Section 654. Because Section 925 is considered a sodomy law
Sodomy laws in the United States
Sodomy laws in the United States, which outlawed a variety of sexual acts, were historically universal. While they often targeted sexual acts between persons of the same sex, many statutes employed definitions broad enough to outlaw certain sexual acts between persons of different sexes as well,...

 which is not entirely subject to the civilian-applicable Supreme Court ruling against sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas
Lawrence v. Texas
Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 , is a landmark United States Supreme Court case. In the 6-3 ruling, the Court struck down the sodomy law in Texas and, by proxy, invalidated sodomy laws in the thirteen other states where they remained in existence, thereby making same-sex sexual activity legal in...

, 925 can still technically be applied in a prosecutorial setting against service members accused of same-sex sexual intercourse, even though the section does not explicitly mention same-sex relations in its letter. The repeal of 654, which explicitly refers to a prohibition against homosexual and bisexual service members and was reformed by the 1993 congressional law, will likely open the possibility for future military-applicable judicial proceedings on the legality of 925. Analysts, such as David Rittgers of the Cato Institute
Cato Institute
The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane, who remains president and CEO, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries, Inc., the largest privately held...

, have called for the harmonization of Section 925 in regards to any sexual behavior which is perceived as disturbing the discipline and good order of the armed forces. In addition, the report by the Pentagon on the results of the survey included a recommendation for the repeal of Article 125 in order to accommodate "consensual sodomy".

2011 rollout


On January 28, 2011, the Pentagon rolled out a more definitive plan for implementation of the integration of openly LGB military personnel. It calls for a three-month period of training, to begin in Q3 2011, for all personnel, describing three mandatory levels of training for troops, commanders, administrators, recruiters and others:
  1. The first level of training involves requiring administrators and other leaders to answer detailed questions about the new policy.
  2. The second level requires senior officers to enforce the policy and observe for any feelings of unease among servicemembers.
  3. The third level consists of the general training of all troops, which is expected to be the most difficult portion due to the wide geographic distribution of troops.


After the training period is completed, the president and his military advisors must sign to a certification which confirms the ability of the military to accept the integration of openly-LGBT personnel. Sixty days after the certification is signed, the DADT Repeal Act will take effect as law.

President Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen sent Congress the required certification on July 22, 2011. Full implementation of the repeal occurred on September 20, 2011, 60 days later.

Refusal of compensation


On the same day as the roll-out of the plan for DADT repeal training, the Department of Defense issued a memo stating that it would not offer any sort of compensation, including separation pay, for those discharged under DADT. As of December 2010, those discharged under the charge of homosexuality are due half of the separation pay due to other honorably discharged servicemembers. The American Civil Liberties Union
American Civil Liberties Union
The American Civil Liberties Union is a U.S. non-profit organization whose stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States." It works through litigation, legislation, and...

 said the memo was linked to Collins v. United States
Collins v. United States
Collins v. United States is an ongoing class-action lawsuit filed against the United States in the United States Court of Federal Claims by the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of New Mexico on November 10, 2010....

, a case it filed against the DoD in November 2010 seeking full compensation for those discharged under the policy.

External links