Federal Eye: How foreign militaries lifted gay bans

Happy Tuesday! As the U.S. military begins a major review of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning gay people from openly serving
in the military, leaders may want to consult an updated study set for
release today that reviews how 25 nations lifted similar bans with
relative success.

The Palm Center at the University of California Santa Barbara conducted the extensive review
of foreign militaries, including Australia, Canada, Great Britain and
Israel — widely considered major fighting forces by military experts.
In each case, the countries successfully lifted any ban in a relative
short period of time after vigorous debate and concern for mass
resignations by other service members.

As The Eye reported on Monday, civilian and uniformed leadership of the Army and Air Force kick off a
week of budget hearings today during which lawmakers are expected to
seek their personal opinions on a potential repeal of “don’t ask, don’t
tell.” A few members of the military’s top brass have already stated a
preference for comprehensive studies and feedback similar to the Palm
Center report.

“No consulted expert anywhere in the world concluded that lifting the ban on openly gay service caused an overall decline in the
military,” the study concluded. Researchers also found that the 25
nations implemented repeals of a gay ban within four months.

“Swift, decisive implementation signals the support of top leadership and confidence that the process will go smoothly, while a
‘phased-in’ implementation can create anxiety, confusion, and
obstructionism,” the study said. That conclusion runs counter to
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates‘ stated preference for up to a year to implement a repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

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