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'Don't Ask Don't Tell' is Dead: Obama Repeals

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on July 22, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

President Obama has certified the repeal of the 17-year-old "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, meaning that after September 20th, gays in the military will be allowed to serve openly.

The move comes on the heels of two weeks of legal maneuvering, with the 9th Circuit ordering the federal government to explain why it should not permit a lower court's order permanently repealing DADT to resume.

Obama signed the document that made it official on Thursday, July 21, 2011.

Under the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010, each branch of the military was first required to study the impact of policy changes and retrain troops. Once complete, each member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was to certify that a DADT repeal would not impede military effectiveness.

Today, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta forwarded that certification to President Obama.

The DADT repeal now must wait 60 days to become effective.

Even though this policy has been repealed, it's unclear just how much it will affect gays in the military.

While they will be permitted to serve openly, the Defense of Marriage Act likely still prohibits the U.S. military from providing spousal or partner benefits, even if legally registered or married.

And while the repeal indicates that the military is officially not going to tolerate anti-gay harassment, it's likely that gay servicemembers will still suffer from at least some discrimination.

The truth is that while the DADT repeal is a landmark for those who support LGBT rights, only time will tell how much it changes the lives of gays in the military.

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