This month marks the one-year anniversary of the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, the 1993 law that banned gay and lesbian service members from serving openly in the military, and get this ... Researchers have confirmed something that human rights activists could have told you waaaay back: There have have been no negative consequences whatsoever to repealing the law! Guess those 1,000+ military officers who claimed the repeal would undermine recruiting efforts, negatively affect "troop readiness," and "eventually break the All-Volunteer Force" will have to eat their words, eh?
In fact, the study -- which was authored by professors at U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, and U.S. Marine Corps War College -- found that there has been no overall negative impact on military readiness, unit cohesion, recruitment, retention or morale. Awesome! But is anyone really surprised by this?
The lead author of the study, Aaron Belkin, elaborated:
For almost twenty years, experts predicted that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would harm the military. Now the evidence is in, and the conclusion is clear: repealing 'don't ask, don't tell' did not harm the military, and if anything made it easier for the Pentagon to pursue its mission.
Fantastic news! What's more, the researchers say the repeal improved trust and cohesion among troops. One soldier who was interviewed for the study admitted he continued to hear derogatory remarks from some in his unit, but when "he confronted them and spoke about their behavior in terms of leadership and professionalism, their conduct improved." As it should have! Apparently, the repeal of DADT had encouraged them to "be professional about it."
Hopefully, conditions will only improve as time wears on, and servicemen and women are able to take advantage of being able to have more frank conversations about preconceived notions and sexuality. In the meantime, this research definitely confirms it's safe to say that Obama's signing of the repeal into law was not only a major victory for civil/LGBT rights, but a major success for the military. Bravo!
One year later and given this study, how do you feel about the repeal of DADT?
Image via Nancy Pelosi/Flickr