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SLDN Executive Director Sarvis on DADT: No More 'Studies'

Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), responded Monday to President Obama's recent signal that it could be months if not years before action is taken on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" because further assessment is needed.

SarvisSarvis wrote, in the Huffington Post: "What we don't welcome -- what we strongly oppose -- is yet another 'study,' which is Washington-speak for saying 'let's just kick this down the road a ways.' Out of sight, out of mind. You see, we're for repeal but don't really want to take a public stand right now (or we're bigots but don't have the guts to say so, outright bigotry being pretty unfashionable these days). So let's appropriate money for a commission or a study, maybe both. We'll have to appoint some members. That alone could take months. Of course the commission will need a staff. And offices. It could easily take a year before they get down to actually studying the issue (that's already been studied to death). Eventually -- and it could be a very long "eventually" -- we may see a report, the most recent in a long line of reports that began in 1988. That's 21 years ago! Let's be clear: a commission or a study group is not about change. That's business as usual. We do not need another report to tell us what we already know and what earlier reports have long since concluded: the sexual orientation of a service member is irrelevant. What is relevant is how well he or she does the job."

In January 2007, former General and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili called for a repeal of the policy, agreeing with a Zogby poll on the issue that said American servicemembers are ready to serve alongside openly gay members of the military. Congress held hearings on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' in July In December, Colin Powell said it was time to re-evaluate the policy. And in November, over 100 retired generals and admirals called for the repeal of the policy.

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Comments

  1. Hard to see how anyone but a politician could disagree with that statement.

    Posted by: Paul R | Feb 4, 2009 1:52:49 PM


  2. Wow - I cannot even remember the last time a spokesperson actually called bull**** on a "let's have another study !" decree, and certainly not in such a reasoned manner.

    Well done that man.

    Posted by: PM | Feb 4, 2009 1:55:14 PM


  3. Sarvis is exactly on point.

    Fucking Obama wants to push this issue away by calling for a study. This is his way of voting "present" as President.

    Posted by: rick | Feb 4, 2009 1:59:52 PM


  4. Good for him but a person in his position should know there were military studies done long before 1988 that showed open gays could serve.

    Posted by: Paine | Feb 4, 2009 2:00:21 PM


  5. I'm not one to jump on the bash Obama wagon but this is a terrible disappointment to me as a veteran. This issue has been studied to death ever since President Clinton instituted this spineless policy. This is absolutely a ploy to ignore the promises made to the LGBT community and I fear there will be more to come. I hope no one expects to see any movement on Federal equality for LGBT citizens because that will be ANOTHER study that will take decades to show any results. In the meantime LGBT citizen will continue to be marginalized.

    Posted by: JerzeeMike | Feb 4, 2009 2:01:15 PM


  6. Mr. Sarvis is right on! The time for study is over, the time for action is now. All we have to do is look at the British military whose services are closest to our own in terms of structure etc. Open service has proven very successful to the point that the Ministry of Defence even has recruitment booths at gay pride celebrations. Opposition to open service is nothing more than not-so-veiled bigotry and homophobia. Well done Mr. Sarvis!

    Posted by: Michael | Feb 4, 2009 2:11:02 PM


  7. I'm afraid the "veteran bigots" of this nation will never give up on preserving DADT. It's going to take a politico with an extremely strong backbone to push dropping this hateful and hurtful policy. I certainly hope Obama's the one but with his overflowing plate of challenges I don't see that the GLBT community has a seat at the table right now. However, one can only hope we get seated eventually and soon.

    Posted by: Rob | Feb 4, 2009 3:07:33 PM


  8. Certainly the prez has some serious plate-clearing to do; nonetheless, I suggest everyone lube up now. We are definitely going to get screwed more than once in the foreseeable future, might as well be ready.

    What troubles me most though is that when there's even the slightest suggestion that The Greatest Nation in the World join other developed nations in the Twentieth Century (yes, I mean Twentieth) the first concern is not whether the law/act/policy is a good one, but how the Retarded Right will react.

    Posted by: mcQLA | Feb 4, 2009 3:52:28 PM


  9. Mr. Sarvis - I think you know better. No one is going to risk anything significant to help gay people serving in the military. If the past hasn't taught you this, maybe the future will.

    Posted by: Yeek | Feb 4, 2009 4:11:02 PM


  10. This is just another one of the over 500 promises he made during the 2008 campaign. The St. Petersburg Times in Florida is keeping an "Obama Watch" meter to see how he's doing on the promises. I plan to check on it from time to time. But the bottom line is the Democrats haven't seen this kind of power since Watergate. And this is about Obama's determination as much as so-called realpolitik. Over the next four years, the President has a choice to make:

    - He can either enter the pantheon of "truly great" presidents like Lincoln or Roosevelt.

    - Or he can languish in "he's likable enough" territory as the 21st century version of Carter.

    With all due respect to Jimmy Carter (who is about as genuine as it gets in politics), I hope Obama aims for the former and not the latter.

    Posted by: John in CA | Feb 4, 2009 5:31:30 PM


  11. President Obama may able to pull off being one of the great presidents...or he could just wind up being another lying jerk which is what I think he'll be. It's too bad that so many gay and lesbian voters got on the whole band wagon supporting this guy. He doesn't have an honest bone in his body. I don't hate him. I just wouldn't piss down his throat if his guts were on fire.

    Posted by: JT | Feb 4, 2009 6:26:13 PM


  12. This issue had been studied thoroughly starting with the RAND Study of 1993 (www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB7537/index1.html) which was stonewalled during the debate in Congress leading to the law commonly known as DADT. This report, paid for by the government and completed by an independent think tank, concluded there was no danger to unit cohesion, readiness and morale by allowing honest service. At that time this conclusion was something conservative members of both parties and members of the JCS didn’t want to hear. Over the years there have been numerous academic and peer reviewed studies done on the effect of repeal. Many are available on line. The University of California at Santa Barbara’s Palm Center has a wealth of these available at: www.palmcenter.org/publications/topic/all

    Books have also been written on the topic starting with the late Randy Schilts- Conduct Unbecoming (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993). Serendipitously, one of the researchers at the Palm Center, Nathanial Frank, has just published a book which will likely be viewed as the best work on the issue of gays in the military to date- Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America ( New York: St. Martin's Press, 2009).

    Commissions and study groups can be effective tools in the search for the truth. The results of such an undertaking will only have credibility if the members represent all view points and not just one side of any given issue. Clearly, when faced with a calamitous and recent crisis, such as Hurricane Katrina and 9-11, this course of action makes sense because the knowledge base is incomplete and requires study, investigation and research. This is not the case with DADT. This injustice has been going on for 16 years. The time for research is over. The data is available in many forms. Now is the time for leadership and action.

    Posted by: CaptUSMC | Feb 4, 2009 7:40:53 PM


  13. It's not going to happen until "Americans" achieve the same sexual maturity as the populations of nations that have already intergrated their military forces.

    Posted by: Robert | Feb 4, 2009 10:17:24 PM


  14. Overturning/repealing DADT only puts the decision on open service back into the hands of the Department of Defense. A repeal does not automatically make it certain gays and lesbians can serve openly. With Gates still in charge and Obama's recent statements, it seems unlikely a repeal of DADT will guarantee the ability to serve openly as gay in the military. Yet, there will be cheering in the streets if Obama pushes for the repeal...much like the praise heaped on him for his decision to "close" Guantanamo. If people do not bother actually learning what is going on than have snippets fed to them by CNN, etc., then they will continue to remain ignorant and he will continue to be considered a breath of fresh air.

    The message that needs to be communicated is not the repeal of DADT. It's "open service" for gays and lesbians. The repeal is NOT sufficient.

    Posted by: SLDNfan | Feb 4, 2009 11:58:31 PM


  15. Also, there are two very interesting court cases moving up the circuit court level headed potentially to the US Supreme Court that will have a profound effect not only on DADT, but on sexual privacy issues surrounding the decision of Lawrence v. Texas in 2003.

    Witt v. US Air Force
    Cook v. Gates (formerly Cook v. Rumsfeld)

    You can learn more about them on the SLDN website. The procedural issues with the two cases, both currently in different circuits where the courts have ruled with varying interpretations of Lawrence v. Texas and both seemingly headed to the Supreme Court is troubling. A legislative response to DADT is more desirable at this point than a judicial one from the Supreme Court. The next few years will prove very interesting for this issue and Obama may not have the option to cast his weight for or against a repeal when he wants.

    Posted by: SLDNfan | Feb 5, 2009 12:07:40 AM


  16. My name is Robert LeBlanc, I'm in Conduct Unbecoming , by Randy Shiltz, and I'm in Do Ask, Do Tell A Conservative Lashes Back, by Bill Boushka. I think, I'm one of the last men who is still still from the book, Conduct Unbecoming. No one has ever contacted us who are in these books. I helped Lenard Matovich raise money in 1975 when I was stationed at Marine Bks, Long Beach, Ca. I do have a web site: WWW.STAFFSERGEANTLEBLANC.COM, If you want history you should ask the old timers who started all this.

    Posted by: Robert LeBlanc | Mar 13, 2009 10:54:28 PM


  17. Check out the video one this web site: WWW.STAFFSERGEANTLEBLANC.COM
    THIS VIDEO IS ONE OF THE VERY FIRST RECORDED (8-MM) GAY PROTEST MARCHES BACK IN 1976 AT MARINE CORPS BKS., LONG BEACH, CA. THIS CASE IS AT THE ROOT OF THE DON'T ASK DON'T TELL POLICY WE HAVE TODAY. LISTEN CAREFULLY TO ONE OF THE PROTESTERS WHO STATES LEBLANC ALSO REFUSES TO TELL THE MILITARY IF HE IS STRAIGHT. IN ADDITION IN THIS SAME CASE IT WAS FEDERAL JUDGE KENNEDY WHO SIGNED ONE OF THE VERY FIRST RESTRAINING ORDERS AGAINST THE MILITARY/DOD. TODAYT HE SITS ON THE US SUPREME COURT. I'M IN THE FOLLOWING BOOKS BY NAME: CONDUCT UNBECOMING BY RANDY SHILTZ AND DO ASK DO TELL BY BILL BOUSHKE. IT WAS AFTER MY CASE THE MILITARY HAD TO GIVE YOU A DISCHARGE ACCORDING TO HOW YOU SERVED. NO MORE AUTOMATICALLY HANDING OUT DISHONORABLE/UNDESIRABLE DISCHARGES.

    Posted by: Robert LeBlanc | Jun 2, 2010 10:24:47 PM


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