Congress is expected to vote soon on legislation to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” a policy that requires LGBT servicemen and women to conceal their sexual orientation or face expulsion from the military.
LGBT and veterans’ organizations have been pushing Congress to pass repeal legislation. Earlier this month, supporters of the repeal staged a rally in front of the White House to urge President Obama to increase his public support for the repeal effort. And just last week, Servicemembers United and the Human Rights Campaign organized a National Veterans Lobby Day in which hundreds of LGBT veterans urged their members of Congress to vote to repeal the policy.
The “don’t ask don’t tell” policy has long been opposed by civil and human rights organizations as being discriminatory and counterproductive. Repeal efforts picked up steam this year when President Obama called for repeal in his State of the Union address in January. In February, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, announced the creation of a working group to evaluate how to implement a full repeal.
Repeal legislation, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I. Ct., in the Senate and Rep. Howard McKeon, D. Calif., in the House, will likely be attached as an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization Bill. The House and Senate Armed Services Committee are expected to mark up the DOD bill in the next couple of weeks.