This post is a submission from John Power Hely VI, a recent graduate of Columbia Law School and a former United States Marine.
The New York Times reports that “The Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday voted to let the Defense Department repeal the ban on gay and bisexual people from serving openly in the military.”
Servicemembers United, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Rep. Murphy (D-PA), Sen. Lieberman (D-CT), and others met at the White House early this week to discuss the fact that repeal seemed to be going forward despite Secretary Gates’ desire to wait until the Pentagon Working Group report issues in December. In order to secure passage through the Committee, the drafters crafted “compromise language,” which some applaud but others believe renders the bill toothless.
The compromise language repeals Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (10 U.S.C. 654) itself, but without drafting any nondiscrimination language to replace it. This returns absolute authority to the Pentagon, essentially winding back the clock to 1992. The compromise language requires that the President, Secretary of Defense, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff all confirm that any repeal plan would not adversely affect military readiness prior to enacting such a plan. In order to get the vote of Sen. Byrd (D-WV), a possible blocking vote on the Senate Armed Services Committee, an amendment to the compromise language was created, giving Congress 60 days to review the repeal plan before it went into effect.
Find out what the compromise does NOT do, after the jump…