The Defense Department is expecting “business as usual” tomorrow when the 1993 Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy is formally repealed and gays and lesbians can serve openly in the armed forces. Officials will acknowledge the end of the ban at a 2 p.m. press conference tomorrow, Stars and Stripes’ Leo Shane reports, and finish updating regulations barring dismissal of or discrimination against gay servicemembers and the “collection of any data related to troops’ sexual orientation.” But the government will otherwise remain mum on what many have described as “one of the most dramatic personnel changes in U.S. military history.”
Gay and lesbian servicemembers are also anticipating a low-key affair. A recent survey from Outserve — a group representing active duty gay soldiers — found that “nearly 80 percent are already out to military co-workers, with about half of those deciding to publicly acknowledge their sexual orientation in the weeks leading up to repeal.” More results:
— 77.5 percent are out to “everyone in my unit”
— 60 percent say they will either come out to “no one who doesn’t currently know” after repeal is implemented or simply “don’t know” what they’ll do.
— 55 percent expect that colleagues will treat them “generally free from discrimination ” after the ban is lifted
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network will host a DC event tomorrow to commemorate the end of the policy with elected officials and veterans.