As 2010 draws to a close, the status of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the military policy towards gays in the service, remains uncertain.
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Don't Ask, Don't Tell: 2010 Status

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As 2010 draws to a close, the status of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the military policy towards gays in the service, remains uncertain.

In October 2010, while a federal appeals court froze Judge Phillips' order halting the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy, the Pentagon announced it would accept openly gay recruits.

As always, this illustrated the controversy surrounding the issue of gays in the military. While some recognized DADT to be unconstitutional, others noted that sudden changes in military policy might cause more harm to our military and our country in the long run.

Thus, as 2010 began running out, a three-judge panel from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily granted the government's request for a freeze on Judge Phillips' order, appealing to the argument that gradual changes in the military's policy on accepting gays in the ranks would be better for overall military stability. A temporary freeze was introduced as a way to maintain some constants in military structure while change was also slowly introduced, seen by the Pentagon's issuing of orders for recruitment officers to accept openly gay new military applicants, and a suspension of discharge proceedings for gay service members.

A LARGER GAY RIGHTS MOVEMENT

Gay rights groups challenged DADT policy, and continued to file arguments to repeal DADT. Log Cabin Republicans remained committed to the goal of creating an equal and tolerant environment for gays in the military, claiming that DADT violates First Amendment rights. The decision to extend the temporary stay while considering the government's appeal of U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips' ruling on the unconstitutional nature of DADT policy, was with the goal of maintaining order and balance as the military prepares for the upheaval of change in the policy on gays in service.

CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS VS. MILITARY READINESS

The military as an institution has historically banned or discouraged gays from military service. Government lawyers argued that sudden changes in military policy, such as immediately admitting openly gay service members, could disrupt military effectiveness during a crucial time such as when the military is engaged wars.

Government officials also wanted time for the military to prepare new regulations, to train and educate service members about the change in accepting gay servicemembers. Judge Phillips countered concerns by pointing out that her order to repeal DADT does not prohibit the Pentagon from implementing educational measures, and that upholding constitutional rights outweighs concerns about impeding military effectiveness.

CHANGING MILITARY POLICY TOWARD GAY SERVICE MEMBERS

Government officials warned against rocking the boat in military policy on gays, especially during a time when the military must serve united and strong in defending America on the front lines of two separate wars. While short term changes in military policy show the battle to end DADT, small measures mark the start of overall institutional changes to the military's policy toward its gay service members.



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