Gay rights advocates are calling on
President Obama to sign an executive order to coincide with repeal of
“Don't Ask, Don't Tell” that would ban discrimination in the
military based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Congress approved in December and the
president signed legislation that ends the military's 17-year-old ban
on open gay and bisexual service.
But the policy won't end until 60 days
after top Pentagon officials and the president agree that the
military is ready for the change. The Pentagon has said it expects
to lift the policy this year.
a letter addressed to Obama, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
(SLDN), which lobbied for repeal of the law, urged the president to
protect LGBT troops.
“We … call on you to show the
leadership of President Truman did when he issued an Executive Order
banning racial discrimination in the armed services and to issue an
Executive Order prohibiting discrimination in the armed services
based on sexual orientation and gender identity to be effective on
the date of repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'” the letter, signed
by SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis, says.
Sarvis added in a statement: “Signing
legislation that allows for repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' was a
necessary first step, but it is not sufficient for ensuring equality
in the military.”
officials have said they expect to implement few policy changes to
accommodate for the end of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.”