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WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Agence France-Presse (AFP) in an interview Thursday, June 23, that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) repeal would not be certified before he retires June 30.
Gates said he expected his successor, Leon Panetta, to approve the certification in late July or early August. The DADT repeal would then take place 60 days after the certification is made.
The latest news on the DADT repeal disappointed Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN).
“SLDN is very disappointed but not entirely surprised by the Secretary's statement that he will not be making the repeal certification before he departs," Sarvis said.
"We are seeing an overabundance of caution by the service chiefs coupled with the Pentagon bureaucracy at work. It's hard to explain, much less justify, why this stage of the process is taking more than six months. Hopefully, Secretary Panetta will bring a new sense of urgency and energy and wrap up certification in a timely way."
STILL AT RISK: Despite President Barack Obama signing the bill authorizing repeal of DADT, it is still unsafe for service members to come out until 60 days after certification by the president, defense secretary and Admiral Mullen.
SLDN FREE HOTLINE: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members with questions are urged to contact the SLDN hotline to speak with a staff attorney: (202) 328-3244 x100.
ABOUT SLDN: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) was established in 1993 when “Don’t Ask” originally passed. In addition to working on repeal, SLDN offers free, confidential legal services to those impacted by the discriminatory law. Last year the organization received its 10,000th call for assistance to its legal hotline.