Pentagon Changes Rules for Discharging Gays

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    Mar 25, 2010 4:28 PM GMT
    WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Robert Gates Thursday approved new rules that will make it harder to discharge gays from the military, calling the changes a matter of "common sense and common decency."

    Gates announced new guidelines for how the Pentagon carries out the 1993 law banning gays from serving openly in the military — rules which essentially put higher-ranking officers in charge of discharge proceedings and impose tougher requirements for evidence used against gays.

    The new guidelines go into effect immediately and will apply to cases already open. They are considered a stopgap measure until Congress decides whether to go along with President Barak Obama's call for a repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" law.

    "I believe these changes represent an important improvement in the way the current law is put into practice, above all by providing a greater measure of common sense and common decency for handling what are complex and difficult issues for all involved," Gates told a Pentagon news conference.

    The changes raise the level of officer authorized to initiate a fact-finding inquiry into a case, the level of officer who can conduct an inquiry and of the one that can authorize a dismissal.

    To discourage the use of overheard statements or hearsay, from now on any evidence given in third-party outings must be given under oath, Gates said. Cases of third-party outings also have included instances in which male troops have turned in women who rejected their romantic advances or jilted partners in relationship have turned in a former lover.

    Some kinds of confidential information also will no longer be allowed, including statements gays make to their lawyers, clergy, psychotherapists or medical professionals in the pursuit of health care.

    The individual service branches will have 30 days to change their regulations to conform to the new rules.

    Military officials, Republicans and even some conservative Democrats have been reluctant to embrace a change in the existing law. They say they support Gates' review of the policy but that no changes should be made if they might undermine military cohesion and effectiveness.

    Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and other Democrats say the time has come to repeal the ban and have called for an immediate moratorium on dismissals.

    Nathaniel Frank, a senior research fellow with the Palm Center, which supports a repeal of the ban, said it is unclear how much of an impact the new guidelines would have because regulations already restrict third-party allegations.

    "Anything that continues to allow the discharge of service members for something that research shows has no bearing on military effectiveness will not go far enough," Frank said.

    An estimated 13,000 have been discharged under the law. The Pentagon didn't officially begin tallying discharges until a few years after the law was implemented, and official figures show roughly 11,000 discharged since 1997 with the peak in 2001 before the military became strained by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Anto

    Posts: 2035

    Mar 25, 2010 7:58 PM GMT
    So in other words, no change. What they are doing is trying to make it look like they are doing something it's not addressing the actual problem though. It's making them look like they think people are idiots and it's embarrassing to the armed forces imo.
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    Mar 25, 2010 8:08 PM GMT
    I think there's a big BIG misunderstanding of the current law. It is called Don't Ask, DON'T TELL for a reason. So why would the military listen to ANYONE that outs a soldier. They violated the DON'T TELL part. Or is is Don't Ask (a soldier if he is gay) and Don't Tell (a soldier you are gay). The question is, who does the DA and the DT apply to?
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    Mar 26, 2010 3:02 AM GMT
    What ever happened to the third clause:
    Don't Ask, Don't Tell, DON'T PURSUE?
  • roadbikeRob

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    Mar 26, 2010 9:14 PM GMT
    That is the same that I would like to know. What exactly do they mean by "Don't Ask" and "Don't Tell" when there appears to be a glorified witch hunt targeting gay military service members which has resulted in a major increase in the number of gay servicemembers being booted out of military service. This is worse than the old gay ban that preceded it.
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    Mar 26, 2010 9:28 PM GMT
    roadbikeRob saidThat is the same that I would like to know. What exactly do they mean by "Don't Ask" and "Don't Tell" when there appears to be a glorified witch hunt targeting gay military service members which has resulted in a major increase in the number of gay servicemembers being booted out of military service. This is worse than the old gay ban that preceded it.

    Not for those discharged. Before, they were almost unanimously dishonorable discharges--tantamount to a civilian criminal record. And that negatively affected those careers long after they left the service, including loss of all veterans benefits.
  • Mepark

    Posts: 806

    Mar 27, 2010 10:45 PM GMT
    I'll bet my membership here that this is the closest we'll get to a change in DADT policy.
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    Mar 27, 2010 11:05 PM GMT
    NO, this is NOT no change.
    The new procedures will make it much more difficult to remove someone, and are a huge step towards killing the policy - not with a big repeal of the ban, which would be guaranteed to provoke a major backlash from the right-wingers - but rather by simply ending the enforcement of it.

    There are extremists on both sides of the issue who won't be happy with this first step, and I want further progress to be made in eliminating the implementation of the policy completely - but it IS progress.
  • MEDMAN

    Posts: 16

    Mar 27, 2010 11:30 PM GMT
    It's FUCKING LAME!!!!! I can't even send anything to a Marine I have been dating for over a year now in Afganistan. Hard to communicate at all with him becuase he's so paranoid of being outed. It has strained our realtionship so much that we may not even make it together. His friend just got outed by some asshole he was dating and now he is way out of the miltary now. Dishonorable discharge!!!!

    Amazing how him and others have put their lives on the line for this country. He was even injured in Iraq and went back to war and this is how we respect and repay him for being a HERO!!!

    You don't see any of the law makers having thier asses on the front lines, however you bust them leaving gay bars and getting DUI's and they still have their jobs!!

    I really never payed much attention to this issue until dating a Marine. I didn't realize how many Gays/Lesbians are enlisted. I am beginning to be ashamed to be an American. We do nothing but humiliate oursleves constantly and tend to be nothing but hipocrites.

    When are we going to get our shit together and support and love each other instead of ask so much of each other and then shit on ourselves.