Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell': Issues for Congress [April 5, 2012]   [open pdf - 265KB]

"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22, 2011, when the President signed the certification of the process ending the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, which was repealed on September 20, 2011.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. Under the Constitution, Congress has the authority for making 'rules for the government and regulation' of the military services. Legislation has been proposed in the 112th Congress that could affect the repeal process by requiring the certification of the repeal by all members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and not just the Chairman, as was the case. It has also been suggested that Congress could hold hearings before or after the final repeal occurs concerning such matters as the repeal process and anticipated changes in other laws regarding military benefits, for example. Issues for consideration include, but are not limited to, 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."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R42003
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