Today, I watched Secretary Robert Gates hold a press briefing to announce a new “more humane” policy for discharging servicemembers under DADT. More on that development at AMERICAblog Gay. But, the big news was, unfortunately, that Gates doesn’t want a legislative change to the law until the Pentagon’s study is complete. That study won’t be finished until the end of this year or early next year.
Our best chance to repeal DADT is this year. In the State of the Union, the President promised to do it this year:
This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.
We expect and need it to happen this year. But, Gates just undermined those efforts with the statement:
I do not recommend a change in the law before we have completed our study.
Gates did acknowledge that the study is about “how” to repeal the law, not “whether” to repeal it. The law should be repealed this year with a delayed implementation until the study is completed. That idea, first proposed by Servicemembers United (“Set End-date / Delayed Implementation”), would serve the needs of all the parties.