October 20, 2010

Government Repeats Unsubstantiated Assertions That Suspension Of Gay Ban Harms Military

Santa Barbara, Calif. – In a filing to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today, government lawyers reiterated unsubstantiated assertions that last week’s suspension of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is harming the military. According to government lawyers, “Implementing an immediate change to this longstanding statutory policy without providing proper training and guidance would be disruptive to military commanders and to servicemembers as they carry out their mission and military responsibilities, especially in active combat.” Defense Secretary Robert Gates first articulated this claim when he said last week that the suspension of the ban would, “have enormous consequences for our troops.”

Palm Center scholars respectfully request the Pentagon document any evidence of any negative consequence that has resulted from the past 200 hours during which gays and lesbians have been allowed to serve openly.

According to Palm Center director Aaron Belkin, “The government is again complaining that it cannot do what it is already doing. Two thirds of the troops already know a gay peer or suspect that they know a gay peer. They don’t need any training or any preparation to serve with gays. If the Pentagon wants an orderly transition, all they need is a simple rule applied equally to everyone and backed up by leadership.”

Yesterday, the Palm Center issued an analysis of five errors that characterize the government’s assertion of harms that followed from last week’s decision to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly.