One year ago, Don't Ask, Don't Tell was repealed, making it possible for gay, lesbian and bisexual troops to openly serve in the military. What a great day.
But even as a new study of the effects of the repeal shows it has had absolutely no detrimental impact -- either on military readiness or morale -- there are still members of Congress attempting bring discrimination back to the armed forces.
The UCLA study, authored by instructors from the military academies, found that repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell has had “no negative impact on overall military readiness or its component parts: unit cohesion, recruitment, retention, assaults, harassment or morale.”
The study's authors interviewed hundreds of troops, examined recruitment and retention figures, looked at media reports and even reached out to anti-gay groups. The predicted exodus of troops? The military reported only two service members who prematurely left because of repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.
In short, the armed forces are as healthy and operational as they were a year ago. Lifting the ban improved the ability of the military to do its job by removing barriers to peer bonding, effective leadership and discipline.
Two amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) seek to undo the good that was done with the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. But we aren't going to sit by and let that happen.
The first, introduced by Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, would mandate that members of the Armed Forces beliefs “concerning the appropriate and inappropriate expression of human sexuality” must be accommodated and shall not be the “basis for any adverse personnel action, discrimination, or denial of promotion, schooling, training, or assignment.” If this becomes law it would make the military hostile to LGBT members and make it difficult for commanders to protect them from discrimination.
The Palazzo Amendment would prohibit Defense Department facilities from being used for private marriage or “marriage-like” ceremonies for same-sex couples, even where state law permits such marriages. Such facilities are already used for a wide range of religious and social events, and prohibiting use of them based solely on sexual orientation would be discriminatory.
The ACLU will work to make sure that neither of these amendments becomes law.