While taking time to study the transition may seem reasonable at first blush, the reality is that the government, the military, and independent researchers have been studying this issue for decades. And all of their findings point to the same truth: Openly gay service does not impair military effectiveness. What’s more, existing research already shows what steps should be taken to repeal DADT. It’s far from clear what good will come from another year of study–but it’s easy to see obstructionists using the window to sow fear and doubt as a tactic to kill the plan for a repeal.
Indeed, the script emerging from this month’s opening salvo at the DADT hearings is eerily similar to the one that played out in 1993, when President Bill Clinton’s effort to lift the gay ban was derailed during a six-month study period. During that window, opponents of reform, led by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, rallied to defend the status quo, forming a wall of military resistance that some said amounted to insubordination. They were joined by skeptical members of Congress. Ultimately, Clinton yielded to the pressure and backed away from his promise.