When the 112th Congress gavels to order in January of 2011, the legislative repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell will be impossible. Current policy, which demands that the U.S. military fire highly qualified and successful people solely on the basis of their sexual orientation, will not be overturned by a Republican majority in the House of Representatives. The Republican majority in the 112th Congress supports discrimination with too great a vehemence.
But the 112th Congress is not yet in session. The 111th Congress is. The 111th Congress contains the largest Democratic majority we’ve seen in in over a decade, and is most likely to contain the largest Democratic majority we’ll see for another decade. If Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is not repealed some time in the next month and a half, it’s not likely to be repealed for another decade.
The San Francisco Chronicle flattens one of the primary rationalizations for the preservation of this discriminatory law:
The arguments against repealing DADT sound less coherent with each passing day. The most-repeated one – that openly gay men and women would threaten “troop cohesion” – has been rendered moot by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Because many of our international partners allow gays and lesbians to serve openly, Americans have been serving alongside openly gay service members for years.
And the other obstructive cry — “listen to the military!” — won’t work any more. The Pentagon itself is coming out of the closet to support the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell:
A Pentagon study group has concluded that the military can lift the ban on gays serving openly in uniform with only minimal and isolated incidents of risk to the current war efforts…. More than 70 percent of respondents to a survey sent to active-duty and reserve troops over the summer said the effect of repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy would be positive, mixed or nonexistent, said two sources familiar with the document. The survey results led the report’s authors to conclude that objections to openly gay colleagues would drop once troops were able to live and serve alongside them.
So it’s up to the Democratic majority in Congress now: you’ve already lost your majority for the next Congress. There’s nothing the Republicans can do to punish you any more. There are no more excuses, no more reasons to say No. So will you stop this instance of discrimination in America?