Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Finally Repealed

In one of the great civil liberties victories of our age, President Barack Obama this morning signed the formal repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — an obnoxious policy of discrimination put into effect under President Bill Clinton. At the time, many of us criticized Clinton for not having the courage to reject discrimination against gays and lesbians — even if we lost the fight on principle. Instead, we have had this insidious and hypocritical policy in place — resulting in the discharge or rejections of thousands of brave citizens. It is now relegated to the dustbin of history with the other discriminatory policies once embraced by our nation.

The battle, however, is not over. Under the DADT policy, servicemembers suspected of being gay were often harassed but could not file complaints. Now, they can. The question will be how the military enforces protections against harassment or hostile work conditions for gays and lesbians. The Obama Administration has two year to put such protections in place — a key challenge since the next Administration may not be as supportive of such rights.

Another challenge could come from the National Guard. Historically, the National Guard was the successor to the militias formed at the beginning of our Republic. They were created as state organizations. With the Vietnam War, the U.S. Army assumed greater control over the state units. Certainly when deployed, they are squarely subject to such policies. Some politicians, however, may try to reassert state authority in preserving DADT on the state level. The federal government has the stronger legal hand under current laws and precedent but it could force a reevaluation on the relative lines of authority between the states and federal government.

The implication for future litigation may be subtle. Notably, the Administration struggled to avoid making this repeal a recognition of constitutional protections for gays and lesbians. The Administration in court fought against claims that sexual orientation should be given the same protections as a category of discrimination as race, religion or even gender. Indeed, in court, the Administration argued to preserve the policy under the claim that gays and lesbians were a danger to unit cohesion.

In the repeal, the Administration largely focused on the sacrifice of these brave men and women — as well as rejecting the discipline and unit cohesion theory. It steadfastly avoided supporting claims that gays and lesbians are entitled to the high level of scrutiny afforded race or the intermediate scrutiny afforded gender.

The repeal will certainly help in the recognition of greater constitutional protections for gays and lesbians. The Supreme Court is a cautious and deliberative institution. It took small steps before accepting a higher level of scrutiny for gender. The repeal puts gays and lesbians on the same legal trajectory in greater recognition of their rights.

This is a wonderful day for civil libertarians. Despite our criticism of Obama for his government’s arguments in federal court, it is also a great victory of him and his legacy. More importantly, it is a great victory for members of Congress — including Republicans who stepped forward to support civil liberties.

Jonathan Turley

Source: LA Times

72 thoughts on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Finally Repealed”

  1. mespo:

    A bigot isn’t merely someone who disagrees with another about a matter. A bigot is someone who abuses another personally for for beliefs they do not share.

    Perhaps you are abusive to me personally because you believe you are superior to me (what else could it be?) and this lures you into a habit of vicousness towards me. This is exactly what a bigot does.

    Clearly you believe you are a good person and I, as a bad person, am deserving of your insults.

    Isn’t the better person the one who isn’t abusive to people they disagree with?

    You coudn’t continue discussing the matter with me in a civilized manner, instead you tear into personally.

    But I’m supposed to be the bad guy.

    It appears you have lost sight of right and wrong.

  2. J. Brian Harris, Ph.D., P.E.: “Alas, denying to those G-d gave the gift of life which includes being homosexual their equal validity as children of G-d is aspiration to, methinks, and is a profound form of sexual corruption, for, if deemed true, it corrupts the sexuality of those G-d given to be homosexual.”


    Yes, corrupt and blasphemous for any professing belief in the omnipotence and omniscience of god to assert s/he erred in her construction or that such construction can be cured, unlearned or unchosen. That by shuffling words in texts the state of grace god endows can be demeaned for the purpose of commerce, politics or the hubris of perfecting, by interpretation and reinterpretation and revision, gods actual living work.

    If I were a proper Christian or any sort of believer I would be sorely confused after a lifetime of listening to men wise in the ways of god(s).

  3. I love prejudiced people. I, myself, am prejudiced.

    I love prejudiced people because I first learned to love myself.

    I am prejudiced against prejudice.

    There, I said it.

    I have confessed.

    I am out.

    I outed myself.

  4. I blasphemed, sorry. Typo, “G-D” was always meant to be “G-d”…

    Blasphemy by keystroke error.

  5. Oh, dear, here I go again.

    Been reading one of the books in my library. N. J. Dawood’s English translation of The Koran (Penguin Books, 2006). I avow the quotes herewith are within fair use. Note that I have changed “the spelling” ofone word, a three letter word, in deference to Orthodox Judaism…

    Sura 2:191, Fight for the sake of G-d those that fight against you, but do not attack them first. G-d does not love aggressors.
    Sura 2:193, Fight against them until idolatry is no more and G-d’s religiou reigns supreme. But if they desist, fight none except the evil-doers.
    Sura 2:194, A sacred month for a sacred month: sacred things too are subject to retaliation. If anyone attacks you, attack him as he attacked you. Have fear of G-d, and know that G-D is with the righteous.

    If I am, in avoiding being blasphemous, to “fight none except the evil-doers,” how am I to correctly identify the evil-doers in the midst of all else that is?

    Try another book, The Bible, An American Translation (University of Chicago Press, 1935): (fair use, I presume…, same deference)

    Genesis 1:27, “So G-d created man in his own image, in the image of G-d he created him; he created both male and female.”

    Alpha an Omega?

    The Revelation of John 22:18, “I warn everyone who hears the message of prophecy in this book read, that if anyone adds anything to it, G-d will inflict upon him the plagues that re described in this book;”

    Were I a “Proper Christian,” I would seek to avoid all the plagues so described by not changing Genesis 1:27 through changing “…both male and female” to “only male and female”.

    Them there folks what reads the Bible as though literally, yet adding and taking away from the prophecies therein, aren’t noways literal, methinks.

    The King James Version, The Jerusalem Bible, The New Jerusalem Bible, The American Bible, all have “male and female” without a preceding “only.” Only, the Living Bible is different. Still no only. However “male and female” is instead, “man and maid.”

    Man and maid? Owner and chattel? Ever attend a wedding where the priest said, I now pronounce you “Woman and husband”? (As in person and property. Were I jihadist, might I not cry out, “Death to the Living Bible” for disrespecting women?

    So, “When three full generations of any civilization accept sexual corruption, it signals the end: the decline and or fall.” is a premise with which I concur.

    Alas, denying to those G-d gave the gift of life which includes being homosexual their equal validity as children of G-d is aspiration to G-dhood, methinks, and is a profound form of sexual corruption, for, if deemed true, it corrupts the sexuality of those G-d given to be homosexual.

    Galileo Galelei, Jovian moons, silenced by edict? Where are the moons of Jupiter named in “The Holy Bible”? Does that mean that they do not exist?

    I seek neither to earn all those plagues, nor to forsake my future by taking away from such truthfulness as I can discern so as to be a copycat of prejudice as a response to childhood trauma.

    Bioengineering is, to me, engineering applied to the phenomenon of life. The phenomenon of life is the whole of that deemed alive and its substrate; or, the entire universe all possible and impossible universes, of which the entire universe is a proper subset.

    If it is not “blasphemy” to assert, for People of The Book, that there is anything possible except the accomplishments of G-d, which assertion surely would be the apostasy of aspiring to G-dhead, then there can be no “blasphemy”?

    My “religion” has taught me to unconditionally respect people who unconditionally disrespect me. Do such people exist?

    While I also observe the history suggesting that three generations of sexual corruption tend to destroy a culture, my grasp of sexual corruption includes as corrupt the denial of the validity of homosexuality and homosexuals for those who recognize their homosexuality.

  6. Happy Holidays to you too, anon nurse. The southwest has made gains. Texas adds 3 but possibly 4 seats. Have to make a last minute run to the grocery store.

  7. Anything could happen between now and the election, but hopefully Obama will get another four years… Have heard rumblings about the changing electoral map, but haven’t been paying close attention. Thanks for that bit of information.

    Happy Holidays, Swarthmore mom. More good things comin’, I’m sure. I’m hoping that the good guys still outnumber the bad, and it would seem that they do…

  8. anon nurse: It looks more likely now. The republican field is way to the right, and it is unlikely that Obama will get a primary opponent. The new electoral map does favor republicans though.

  9. Swarthmore mom,

    Tried several time to post a link to an interview with Karl Rove (available via your link, above). He’s already concluded that Obama will be reelected in 2012…

  10. Congress passed a few good things at the end but that’s the end of it. Speaker Boehner with his large majority in the House is taking over.

  11. Tootie:

    “When three full generations of any civilization accept sexual corruption, it signals the end: the decline and or fall.”


    Would that include allowing you to reproduce?

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