February 1st, 2010
02:29 PM ET
13 years ago

Sources: Joint Chiefs set to review 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/01/art.mullen.1215.gi.jpg caption="Adm. Mike Mullen will meet with other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Monday to discuss President Obama's plan to repeal the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy."]Washington (CNN) - Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen will meet with other members of the Joint Chiefs Monday to discuss President Barack's Obama's plan to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy for gay and lesbian service members, according to two U.S. military officials.

The closed door meeting is considered exceptionally sensitive, the sources say, because the chiefs - each of whom heads a military service - are said to be concerned that changing the law would be too disruptive on military forces.

The policy, which has been in effect since 1993, prohibits openly gay men and women from serving in the U.S. armed forces. The policy bans military recruiters or authorities from asking about an individual's sexual orientation, but also prohibits a service member from revealing that he or she is gay.

Obama announced his intention to repeal the policy during last week's State of the Union address.

"This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are," he said.

Full story

Filed under: Don't Ask Don't Tell • Mike Mullen
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. David

    How are gay personnel too disruptive on military forces?

    February 1, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  2. Claude

    I am 77 years old and served honorably in the military. It is past time to recognize the right of gays to serve. More heterosexual crimes, men against women, are committed in the military each year than than have been committed by gays ever.

    February 1, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  3. Robert

    ".....the chiefs – each of whom heads a military service – are said to be concerned that changing the law would be too disruptive on military forces. "

    That is just nonsense....

    All of the studies done on this issue have said there would be no disruption if the policy was scrapped. All of our allies have ended any bans they had on openly gay servicepeople – all with no negative affects.

    This is just political posturing. There is no excuse for this continued discrimination.

    End the ban now Generals.

    February 1, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  4. Fitz in Texas

    Oh, from the look of those high ranking military officials sitting and listening to Obama and his State of the Union address, something tells me the "don't ask, don't tell" won't go over real big. But why would Obama care, because with him it's all about votes and a few votes from the gay community is what Obama is after.

    February 1, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  5. steve

    I imagine that they will discuss everything except the elephant in the middle of the room which is the added psychological toll of not being able to discuss your loved ones with other soldiers. Heterosexuals generals can not begin to imagine the internalization of this loss. They have their family photos on their desk. They have letters from home. They have the added sanity of discussing the great family that they have and the love that they have for them. They have the ability to greet these family members at the gates when returning home from duty. This in and of itself is a very comforting security blanket for the soul that they would gladly deny to others. Homosexuals must wait until they get home for any emotional embraces, so as not to defend the delicate nature of our finest and fiercest heterosexual soldiers. This policy is a farce created by weak men with a weak sensitivity and understanding of life and an even weaker ability to accept anything other than the religion that they were born into. Not much different than the enemy.

    February 1, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  6. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    "This successful policy has been in effect for over fifteen years, and it is well understood and predominantly supported by our military at all levels," McCain said.

    This "successful" policy (like the one that didn't allow black and white troops to serve together , etc) has caused the loss of HUNDREDS (thousands?) of KEY PEOPLE... Interpreters and other highly skilled, SHORT SUPPLY officers and troops.
    Republican'ts hate change, it lessens their grip on the proletariat..

    February 1, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  7. Scott

    So when the commander can marry the chief and the chief can marry the other chiefs how crazy will life be in the military. How will this factor into guard and reserve units where people stay for thier entire careers.

    February 1, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. Dean

    So if it is ok to be openly gay in the military does that mean that the gays will have seperate quarters? If not, there should also not be seperate quarters for females either.

    February 1, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  9. Robert

    We're HERE, We're QUEER, get used to it, get OVER IT!!

    February 1, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  10. Matt Mendell

    One of the claims here is wrong. According to a 2009 Gallup Poll, 58% of conservatives favor repealing the act. It it their elected officials who still oppose it.

    February 1, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  11. Stop the Nonsense

    I'm a big fan of the show West Wing. They addressedthis with an episode featuring John Amos as the head of the Joint Chiefs where he mentioned the same concerns that the real chiefs have, Then, his character points out that it is the sme thing that was said of "blacks" serving with "white" troops.
    It's time to judge the individual, and not the group. Most gays will not wantto serve. But those that do, can be as good as any other meember of our Armed Forces. They too care about our freedom. They too love our country. They too have loved ones to protect.

    February 1, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  12. nomorepoliticsplease

    i just know that all of you holy-rollers are gonna be all over this one, but here's a reality check. THERE ARE ALREADY MEN AND WOMEN SERVING IN OUR MILITARY THAT ARE HOMOSEXUAL!!! And, being a former service member, I can tell you that everyone knows who they are. They don't have to announce it, they don't want to announce it. What they DO want is the ability to continue to serve their country without having to pretend to be something their not. (dating someone of the opposite sex for appearances sake) They should be allowed to be who they are without fearing being kicked out of the military if the cat gets outta the bag.

    February 1, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  13. GI Joe

    What's with all the homophobes?

    It isn't contagious, and they do NOT make advances to straight people.


    February 1, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  14. Tony Smith

    As a gay veteran (USAF) I would like to remind all of our Congressional leadership (especially Senator McCain) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff that while they debate changing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, there are thousands of gay and lesbian servicemembers on active duty right now serving their country, many in harms way in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Some of those gay servicemembers will give their life in service to a country that otherwise doesn't fully respect them. Under the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law/policy they would be discharged regardless of their honorable service and sacrifice. I lost a good friend who died while serving in Iraq. He was a gay man that served honorably, but if his sexual orientation was revealed the day before he died, the military could have discharged him.

    So, I ask the Congressional and Military leadership to consider how you want to honor their sacrifice and service for your freedoms? As leaders, when you talk about how great our military is and not wanting to cause problems, undue stress etc. during a time of war, remember there are thousands of gay troops that are in those numbers too. They protect your freedom. How are you going to repay them?

    February 1, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  15. chuck

    This policy is a joke planted in a pot of religion and watered with an ocean of hypocrisy. The president who worked out this arrangement actively courted the gay vote, then actively worked against them while in office, including signing the Defense of Marriage Act and did it all with one hand while playing with cigars and little girls with the other in the bathroom of the Oval office. If you don't see the hypocrisy and complete unfairness in that then you are braindead. Put your bibles away, pick up the constitution and start reading, then start behaving like true Americans instead of brainwashed Christians trying to buy your way into heaven at the expense of someone else.

    February 1, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  16. Leo

    It's about time!! Gays and Lesbians have been fighting in the military since the military was created. It's about time they are acknowledged and given the same rights and benefits as straight service men and women.

    February 1, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  17. effie

    Of course there already are thousands and thousands of gay and lesbians in the military who do a fantastic job. Our problem is simply that we don't want to acknowledge that they exist anywhere in the world. The military is a place of unbelievable opportunities available to only heterosexuals. That is institutionalized discrimination in the heart of the United States of America. Maybe we can teach Iraqis how to further demonize and destroy their gay population while we are smug enough to nation-build abroad and while our own nation goes down the tube. It is not against the law to be gay. Check out the Supreme Court decision Texas vs. Lawrence. If it is not against the law to be gay, then this policy is highly illegal, highly discriminatory and highly inefficient and created by a highly ethically challenged president: Bill Clinton.

    February 1, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  18. Jack

    It's silly that at this time we are even having this discussion. The reality is there are many gays and lesbians already in the military and there is no breakdown of command. As a nation we need to get over our homophobia. There will still be strict rules of conduct as there are now with the co-ed military. There was, remember, a lot of resistance to having women serve alongside men in the military. Now it would seem ridiculous to even debate this.

    February 1, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  19. gt

    obama should look to change our uniforms to look like the swiss gurard while he is at it,,,,,,

    February 1, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  20. elaine

    While CNN reports on "Black in America" and "Hispanic in America", they completely ignore the people who are truly repressed and that is "Gays in America". Blacks and Hispanics don't want to be usurped in their victim status by the true victims in this country and CNN will gladly hold them in their victim status. In this day and age they have a strong ability to crawl out of this victimhood, but choose to remain barefoot and pregnant and uneducated. Gays have done a remarkable job of picking themselves up and dusting themselves off and starting all over again every time they get knocked down. They are a class act and deserve our deepest respect at home and in the military.

    February 1, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  21. Mike1952

    This only puts our armed forces in jeopardy. Wingnut and his buddies obviously never spent a day in the armed forces. I have and I'll tell you now there is no way I would live, sleep, shower, etc. with a openly homo guy in the barracks. And I don't know anyone who would. Would Wingnut do that? I guess they could put the lesbians with the normal guys and the homo guys with the normal girls. This is ludicrous. The volunteers will all be homosexuals.

    February 1, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  22. JP

    Are they considering co-ed bathrooms too.

    February 1, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  23. notfooledbydistractions

    It's about time!!!!!!

    We're losing troops with specialized skills now is not the time. Get rid of the ridiculously archaic policy.

    February 1, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  24. Michael from Ventura

    It's about time! We need good people with good skills. It doesn't matter about anything else. They love their country and want to serve. It's really not so hard to figure out when using common sense.

    February 1, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  25. ian

    How could anyone be against allowing someone who is willing to risk their life to protect our country from being theirself. I say if DADT isnt repealed all gays in the millitary should admit their sexuality and be put on discharge, lets see what kind of negative effect THAT will have on our forces Mr Mccain!

    February 1, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
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