Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-11-25
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



DADT moves to full Senate
by Chuck Colbert

facebook twitter stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

As early as the end of this week, the full Senate could to take up the Defense Authorization Act of 2011, this year's version of a Pentagon spending bill that has attached to it an amendment to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" ( DADT ) . In advance of the Senate's action, repeal advocates are gearing up, asking the LGBT community to keep up pressure on lawmakers to lift the nearly17-year law and military policy that bans openly gay service.

For repeal proponents, vigilance is the watchword for next few weeks or months. A Senate recess is scheduled July 4-12 and then again from Aug. 9-Sept. 10.

Meanwhile, in asking senators for their vote, one message from repeal advocates is clear, enough, "Follow the lead of Senator [ Carl ] Levin, [ D, Mich. ] ," said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network ( SLDN ) . Levin, an ardent advocate for repeal, serves as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

SLDN sounded another talking point, during a recent telephone conference with reporters. "Don't ask, don't tell' has not gone away," warned the organization's communications director Trevor Thomas, adding, "Every day the law is on the books," gay and lesbian service members are "at risk" of being discharged.

Indeed while the Congress deliberates and the Pentagon working group continues its work—including a plan to survey several tens of thousands of the troops and their families—gay and lesbian soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marine corpsmen remain in limbo.

And gay service-related discharges in fact are continuing even under the regulations that require a flag officer—one star admiral or general—to initiate an investigation and sign off on discharges based on "homosexual conduct." One SLDN attorney is currently representing a service member facing a possible discharge initiated after the revised regulations went into effect, revisions which were designed to reduce third-party outings. "The revised regulations have not stopped investigations and will not stop discharges," cautioned Sarvis.

Sarvis' caution comes at a critical juncture of lift-the-ban efforts. Last month, the House of Representatives voted by a margin of 234-194 in favor of an amendment that included repeal language, a measure sponsored by Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Pa. The vote came as congressional repeal leadership reached an agreement with the White House, requiring that before any repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell, President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen must sign off—or certify—that implementation of openly gay service can be accomplished without undermining the military readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruitment and retention. Then the 60-day review period kicks in.

But with action now poised for the Senate, repeal proponents are on guard as the ranking minority leader of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has already threatened a filibuster. At the same time, GOP repeal detractors seek to change the certification process by amendment to include approval from all service chiefs. An expanded amendment would present a significant hurdle insofar as some of the branch chiefs have voiced publicly their opposition to repealing DADT.

Besides fending off a filibuster and preventing a broadened certification process, repeal proponents must beat back any move to strike repeal language entirely from the Department of Defense ( DoD ) spending bill. In the Senate 60 votes are required to end a filibuster, while only 51 votes are necessary to approve the defense authorization legislation.

As the Senate begins deliberations any day now, four senators could be key to the future of DADT, including Democratic senators Jim Webb of Virginia and Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snow, both of Maine—all four who could buck their parties political lines.

With all eyes on the Senate, Sarvis said, "We're going to suggest to leadership only one amendment to 'don't ask, don't tell'" be permitted. As he explained, for repeal proponents, a best-case scenario would be to "beat back" the filibuster and bring "cloture" with hopes that "we are dealing with only the amendment to strike."

Why is that? "It's easier to message and easier to get Republican support," according to Sarvis. Defeating any amendments, he explained, is key because right now the language adopted in the Senate Armed Forces Committee is the same as that passed by the House.

After the Senate votes, the DoD bill goes to a joint congressional conference committee. There, Sarvis said, if the House and Senate language are the same, "It will be difficult, but not impossible, he said, "for conferees to adjustments or modifications on language."

Assuming the House and Senate reach accord in conference and the Defense Authorization Act of 2011 is signed into law by the president, repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" is unlikely to take effect, however, until next year.

A possible time line for open service looks like this: The first trigger date is the Dec. 1 deadline for Pentagon's working group report. The study due to Congress is a report—not if or whether—to implement openly gay service, should lawmakers enact repeal.

Still, "There is no reason why [ the president, Secretary Gates, and Admiral Mullen ] cannot sign off on certification shortly after that date," Sarvis insisted.

Although 60 days must pass before openly gay service would take effect, that time frame, Sarvis was quick to note, "Is to review certification—not to vote on, and not to approve," adding, "There is no reason why we cannot have open service for our troops, early next year before the end of the first quarter of 2011."

┬ęCopyright 2010 Chuck Colbert. All rights reserved.

facebook twitter stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


LGBT veterans of AVER honor military service on Veterans' Day 2015-11-17
Briefs: Navy murder facts revealed; SPARTA honored; Utah judge recuses himself 2015-11-17
Activist reveals information relating to sailor Allen Schindler's murder 2015-11-11
National roundup: Kameny honored; military rape; anti-gay attacks 2015-11-10
Veterans call for benefits to LGBT soldiers with "Other Than Honorable" discharges 2015-11-09
PASSAGES Jon Phillips dies 2015-10-29
Fourth 'Do Ask, Do Tell' looks at health disparities 2015-10-12
Huckabee attacks nomination of Eric Fanning for Sec. of the Army 2015-09-21
Openly gay Eric Fanning to be nominated Secretary of the Army 2015-09-18
Chelsea Manning denied recommended treatment for gender dysphoria 2015-09-18
Military trans ban could end next May 2015-09-02
Report: Military's transgender ban could end by May 2016 2015-08-26
Chelsea Manning found guilty of breaking prison rules 2015-08-18
New England Journal of Medicine: Health costs minimal for trans military 2015-08-12
LGBT veterans and allies celebrate reenlistment, monument 2015-08-10
Upcoming: Event for veterans' supporters on Aug. 9 2015-08-05
Reception to thank supporters of monument to LGBT veterans, Aug. 9 2015-07-29
Nat'l: Pastors attend wedding; pro-LGB military act; 'Black Lives' conference 2015-07-28
PASSAGES Tania Nichole Dunbar, a founding member of SPARTA, dies 2015-07-22
Pentagon to lift transgender military ban 2015-07-13
Navy, Marines make pro-trans move 2015-07-08
City of Chicago Salute LGBT veterans held at Daley Plaza 2015-07-02
Marine to be denied marriage license in San Saba County Texas 2015-06-30
VA extends benefits to same-sex couples following supreme court ruling 2015-06-29
Legislation to lift transgender military ban to be introduced 2015-06-23
Sec Def announces protections for gay, lesbian troops, no mention of trans 2015-06-09
AMA on transgender military service: No valid reason to block 2015-06-08
Air Force takes step towards open transgender service 2015-06-05
National: Kameny's honor; Pentagon move; more presidential candidates 2015-06-02
Pentagon to add non-discrimination protections for gay, lesbian troops 2015-05-29
First federally approved LGBT Veterans Monument unveiled 2015-05-27
U.S. Senators call for military updates 2015-05-27
National: Jindal's move; Texan Rep. supports marriage; senators urge DoD Sec'y 2015-05-26
LGBT Veterans Monument dedicated 2015-05-25
LGBT veterans remember murdered gay sailor 2015-05-24
LGBT veterans, Lakeside Pride Freedom Marching Band join Memorial Day Parade 2015-05-23
Senators ask DoD for equal opportunity policies for LGB servicemembers 2015-05-21
Monument to honor LGBT veterans in national cemetery in Illinois 2015-05-19
Great Lakes command reduces religious services, stokes outrage 2015-05-15
LGBT veterans to be honored with monument in national cemetery 2015-05-13

Copyright © 2015 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.