The ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military took another decisive step to abolition today. As required by law, President Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, officially certified that the armed forces can integrate homosexual troops without harming recruitment, retention and readiness. By Sept. 20, “don’t ask don’t tell” (DADT) — a shameful law that denied 14,500 men and women the privilege of serving their country and robbed a nation at war of valuable talent — should be history.
The last hurdle is a 60-day review period. During this time, the Pentagon will work out some remaining issues, such as the disposition of benefits to spouses. Until then, gay and lesbian servicemembers are urged to not come out or reveal that they are gay. Waiting those 60 days for the demise of DADT is nothing compared to the 18 years this nation condoned it.