Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow has sent a letter to the school community celebrating today’s official repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, while noting that the new policy does not apply to transgender individuals or extend full benefits to gays and lesbians.
“The repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is an important and welcome milestone, and we especially celebrate this moment as an opportunity to highlight the superb chances for honorable service and challenging and rewarding work for lawyers and others serving in the U.S. Military,” Minow wrote in a letter obtained by ThinkProgress:
I do want to observe that the repeal does not apply to transgender individuals. Moreover, according to separate federal law that remains in force, married gay and lesbian service members will not be eligible for many of the benefits available to their heterosexual counterparts. I join others who wish to work to change policies that continue to discriminate against gays and lesbians and transgender individuals who want to serve their nation.
I do so because I view military service as an extraordinary calling. As Dean, I have charged our team to pursue the maximum range of career opportunities for all of our students.
HLS has long objected to the discriminatory policy, but the issue received newfound prominence during the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, who preceded Minow as dean. Republicans claimed that Kagan had blocked military recruitment during her tenure, even though she was simply following the university’s long-standing policy of prohibiting employers who discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation from using the Office of Career Services. Since the mid 1980s, the military recruited on campus through the HLS Veterans Association and the school provided formal access through the Career Services office after the government threatened to cut off federal funding. [HT: Brian Clampitt]