Obama press secretary pledges end to ban on gays in the military
The current bar on openly gay people serving in the United States Armed Forces will be abolished by the Obama administration.
The President-elect’s press secretary Robert Gibbs chose to answer a question about the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy as part of a question and answer initiative on the Obama tranistion team website (see below).
103,512 people submitted 76,031 questions.
The fact Mr Gibbs chose to answer a question on a gay issue has been seen as an effort to mend fences with the LGBT community, still angered that a homophobic preacher has been asked to lead prayers at the inauguration ceremony next week.
Thaddeus from Lansing, Michigan, asked:
“Is the new administration going to get rid of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy?”
Mr Gibbs responded:
“Thaddeus, you don’t hear a politician give a one-word answer much, but it’s ‘Yes.'”
The current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, has indicated that Don’t Ask,Don’t Tell, a 1993 law, is likely to be repealed.
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At present if army personnel are discovered to be lesbian, gay or bisexual then they are sacked, but commanding officers are not allowed to ask about their sexual orientation.
In the past 15 years more than 12,500 personnel have been dischared under DADT.
“The President-elect’s been pretty clear that he wants to address this issue,” Admiral Mullen said an interview after his December meeting with President-elect Barack Obama in Chicago.
“I am certainly mindful that at some point in time it could come.”
In May Admiral Mullen said that Congress is responsible for the ban on openly lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans from military service.
Speaking to graduating cadets at West Point military academy, Admiral Mike Mullen said that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a law that the Armed Forces follow.
“Should the law change, the military will carry that out too,” he said.