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September 21, 2012

One year after DADT

Furor has faded as out soldiers and sailors have become everyday

Washington, D.C.--A year after the “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal took effect, none of the bad results predicted by naysayers have occurred.

There is no plummeting morale, no loss of unit cohesion. The Pentagon reports that the removal of the policy has proceeded without major incident, and recruitment is at pre-repeal levels.

There are some good effects, however.

Photos are now on Facebook of service members kissing their partners when returning from a tour of duty, and the military even relaxed its ban on uniformed personnel marching in this summer’s Pride parade in San Diego, home to several bases.

“None of it could have happened before repeal,” Heather Lamb told the Associated Press. Lamb married her partner, Air Force Major Adrianna Vorderbruggen, in June. She was recognized by Vorderbruggen’s commanding officer during her promotion ceremony, and they have attended squadron events as a couple.

One of the few areas where the repeal has been lacking is in benefits for the partners of personnel. Under the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal government cannot recognize same-sex marriages, and the Pentagon does not provide domestic partner benefits.

“We were told that once we won repeal, these types of things would be inevitable, but now the defense leadership is dragging its feet,” said Servicemembers United founder Alex Nicholson.

Domestic partner benefits are being examine by the Defense Department, but there is no timeline for their introduction. Despite this, the Pentagon declared the repeal a complete success due to “adherence to core values that include discipline and respect,” according to Pentagon spokesperson Eileen Lainez.

The Palm Center at UCLA issued a report on repeal that also found it to be successful.

“Contrary to expectations, the co-authors found evidence that repeal has improved trust among troops, and has enabled service members to resolve problems in ways that were not possible while DADT remained law,” the report said, while noting there is still anti-gay harassment and discrimination in the military. However, it said that the levels had not increased over the past year.

American military personnel had been serving with openly gay soldiers, sailors and pilots for years even before the repeal, however: Israel, the U.K., Germany and many other close allies have for years allowed gay and lesbian people to serve openly in their militaries.

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