The Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: Issues for Congress


Burrelli, David F. 2012. The Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: Issues for Congress. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.

Author: David F. Burrelli


On December 22, 2010, President Obama signed P.L. 111-321 into law. It calls for the repeal of the existing law (Title 10, United States Code, §654) barring open homosexuality in the military by prescribing a series of steps that must take place before repeal occurs. One step was fulfilled on July 22, 2011, when the President signed the certification of the process ending the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, which was repealed on September 20, 2011. However, in repealing the law and the so-called ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, a number of issues have been raised, but were not addressed by P.L. 111-321. This report considers issues that Congress may wish to consider as the repeal process proceeds.

Keywords: military, human rights, Don't Ask Don't Tell


This report examines such issues as “congressional oversight of the repeal process, differences in benefits and privileges some individuals may experience (especially differences created under the Defense of Marriage Act), changes involving sodomy prohibitions, and efforts by some to expand the repeal to include transgender individuals.” Burelli concludes that the final resolution to these additional issues that complicate the repeal of Section 654 may extend well beyond the initial date of repeal.

Topics: Governance, LGBTQ, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Sexuality Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2012

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