SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — For the first time since Congress and President Obama decided gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military, the Air Force confirmed the discharge of a member Friday because of sexual orientation.
President Obama signed legislation last year that repeals the 1993 “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, but the landmark change has not been implemented. The Air Force disclosed that the unidentified airman was discharged in April.
Hastings Law Professor Elizabeth Hillman said the new law itself was not enough to protect the individual’s military career even though Congress passed the bill that President Obama signed back in December. What many forget is the provision included in the bill that states the Pentagon must prepare the military for gays to openly serve.
KCBS’ Barbra Taylor Reports:
“It only ends it after the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff actually certifies that the Department of Defense is actually ready to do this and they haven’t done that yet. We’re waiting repeal and as we wait repeal the policy is still in effect,” said Hillman.
This newest discharge was approved by Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley after discussions with the Military’s general counsel and Defense Secretary Robert Gates Personnel Chief.
Professor Hillman predicts certification will probably come this fall, but until then, gays in the military will continue to be at risk of discharge if they are open about their sexuality.
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