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National Gay Military Group Rolls Out Plan To Repeal DADT Before The End OF The Year

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"National Gay Military Group Rolls Out Plan To Repeal DADT Before The End OF The Year"

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soldier2Eager to capitalize on the recent momentum for repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) and weary of the military’s ability to derail the process with a year-long review, a national organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans has proposed a plan that would lock in a date for full Congressional repeal and give the military 18 months to “do its studies, work through its issues, and plan for successful implementation.” “After the hearing, I think there’s been an expectation that we would have a study process in 2010 and a legislative process in 2011,” said Alex Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United told the Advocate. “But a lot of us in the military community feel like that’s a grave political mistake and we’re potentially risking the entire issue by proceeding that way.”

The group’s Set End-date / Delayed Implementation (SEDI) model would proceed in the following way:

- Immediately: Pentagon Working Group begins work; Legislation introduced to lock in repeal

- After 3 months: Deadline for interim changes to policy enforcement; First report to Congress

- After 6 months: Second report to Congress on progress of repeal implementation planning

- After 9 months: Third report to Congress on progress of repeal implementation panning

- After 12 months: [Repeal passed]; Repeal implementation begins according to plan established by Pentagon

- After 18 months: Full repeal completed; Final report to Congress

The model places Congress and the Pentagon on two separate tracks: the former repeals the policy, the latter studies “how we best prepare for it.” There is no endless delay or year-long review to tell us what numerous studies and real world experiences in other countries have unanimously concluded: on the whole, straight soldiers don’t really care about the sexual orientation of their colleagues. As one headline in Foreign Policy magazine put it about gays in the Israeli military: ‘They’re Here, They’re Queer, It’s No Big Deal.’

The ‘big deal’ is the threat of a manufactured controversy that could arise from a drawn out process. “Even if all parties involved have the best of intentions, the DADT issue does not exist in a vacuum. Many other forces can intervene between now and the future point at which the Pentagon finishes its planning and study that can derail the intended trajectory, including a year’s worth of time for reactionary opposition to organize and wage a serious campaign, the midterm elections, and the outcomes of other volatile political issues,” the report notes.

After all, if the health debate taught Democrats anything, it’s this: “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”

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