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Pentagon sees ‘minimal risk’ in repealing ‘don’t ask’: report

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Repealing the military’s gay ban would result in only “minimal and isolated incidents of risk to the current war efforts,” but a “significant minority” of soldiers remain opposed to the idea, a Pentagon report is expected to say.

The Washington Post cites two sources familiar with a draft of the report, to be delivered to President Obama on December 1, who say it will give fuel to both sides in the debate over repealing the 17-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prohibits gays from serving openly in the armed forces.

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The Post‘s Ed O’Keefe and Greg Jaffe report:

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….

Among other questions, the survey asked if having an openly gay person in a unit would have an effect in an intense combat situation. Although a majority of respondents signaled no strong objections, a significant minority is opposed to serving alongside openly gay troops. About 40 percent of the Marine Corps is concerned about lifting the ban, according to one of the people familiar with the report.

The Post reports that Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen received copies of the draft last week, which also presents a plan for repealing DADT if lawmakers decide to do so. It also includes general recommendations regarding gay individuals in the military.

Despite the predictions or fears of groups for and against repealing the ban, the report does not anticipate a large “coming out” by gay men and lesbians serving in uniform, said the person who had read the full draft.

Among several recommendations, the report urges an end to the military ban on sodomy between consenting adults regardless of what Congress or the federal courts might do about “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the source said.

The report also concludes that gay troops should not be put into a special class for equal employment or discrimination purposes, the individual said. The recommendation is based on feedback the study group obtained from gay troops and same-sex partners who said they do not want a special classification, according to the source. Gay troops were encouraged to participate in the survey and to submit comments to the anonymous online dropbox.

Read the full Post story here.

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Louisiana judge admits to exchanging racist texts with cop boyfriend about courtroom employees

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Appearing on a local TV station on Sunday, a district court judge in Assumption Parrish in Louisiana owned up to racist comments she made about African-American employees in her courtroom that she texted to her then-police officer boyfriend.

According to WAFB, Judge Jessie LeBlanc initially denied using the N-word about a black sheriff’s deputy and a black law clerk in her district when texting with former chief deputy, Capt. Bruce Prejean, with whom she was involved while both were married.

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US Supreme Court agrees to decide if taxpayer funded religious adoption agencies can discriminate against LGBTQ people

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The U.S. Supreme Court has announced it will hear a case that could determine if taxpayer-funded religious organizations, including adoption and foster care agencies, can legally discriminate against LGBTQ people. Monday morning the conservative-majority court agreed to hear Fulton v. Philadelphia, which is being litigated by the far right wing Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

Catholic Social Services is claiming it has a First Amendment right to discriminate against same-sex couples and LGBTQ people, – including refusing to allow them to adopt or foster children – while still accepting taxpayer funds.

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Julian Assange lawyer tells court: After pardon fell through, Trump administration resorted to ‘extortion’

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An attorney for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange accused the Trump administration of extortion in a London court on Monday.

The WikiLeaks attorney appeared at Woolwich Crown Court along with U.S. prosecutors, who argued that Assange should be extradited the United States, where he faces 18 charges and up to 175 years in jail.

Attorneys for Assange previously told the court that former Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) tried to broker a pardon deal between the White House and Assange if he would agree to say that Russia was not the source of hacked Democratic Party emails.

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