Beginning today, the policy governing the service of gay and lesbian members – commonly referred to as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – has been repealed. Now implemented, the repeal allows gay and lesbian Americans to serve openly in the military.
Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Michael Leavitt released a letter to the service earlier this morning informing Coast Guardsmen that all policies relating to “Don’t’ Ask, Don’t Tell” are no longer in effect. In the letter they addressed the repeal as well as their confidence in the service to hold fast to the service’s core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty.
“We will continue to Respect all our Shipmates today, just as we did yesterday, and we appreciate your continuing leadership as our Service implements this policy change,” wrote Papp and Leavitt in the letter.
In December 2010, the President signed into law legislation to repeal 10 USC § 654, the statute which established the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Under rules outlined in the law, the president, secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were required to certify that implementation of the new policies and regulations written by the Department of Defense was consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion and recruiting and retention of the armed forces.
For more information on this important issue, you can read previous Coast Guard Compass coverage on the repeal here. To read Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp’s full written testimony before the Senate Armed Forces Committee, click here, and to see video of the hearing, click here. The “Report of the Comprehensive Review of the Issues Associated with a Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is available here.