A group representing LGBT soldiers has slammed reports that the Obama administration is considering a new study on gays in the military.
According to the Boston Globe, the administration might consider commissioning such a study before moving ahead on eliminating the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, which bars openly LGBT people from serving in the US military.
“We oppose another ‘study’ regarding ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,'” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. “Commissioning a study is Washington-speak for kicking the issue down the road because ‘we don’t want to deal with it right now.'”
During last year’s presidential campaign, Obama repeatedly called for the repeal of the law.
“The president didn’t say on the campaign trail that he would re-visit or review or reconsider ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’… He said categorically in public appearances and on his web site that he “will work with military leaders to repeal the current [Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell] policy and ensure we accomplish our national defence goals.”
The organisation says that many credible, non-partisan, or bipartisan studies have already been conducted on the impact of gays in the military. It says that all conclude that gays and lesbians serving openly in the military do not undermine military readiness, troop morale, and/or national security.
“There are at least a dozen studies or papers on this topic, and all, without exception, say the same thing,” said Sarvis. “We would, however, support a 90-day implementation study (a review of how to successfully implement a new non-discrimination policy) if the Pentagon thought that was necessary.”
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is the only US federal law that requires employers to fire employees for being openly gay or lesbian. Since 1993, 12,500 men and women have reportedly been discharged under the law.
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is a national, non-profit legal services, watchdog and policy organisation dedicated to ending discrimination against and harassment of military personnel affected by Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.