March 25, 2010

Gates eases ban on gays in the military: (from CNN) Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Thursday that the Pentagon will start to ease its enforcement of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy prohibiting gay individuals from serving openly in the military.

Among other things, Gates said the Pentagon is raising the threshold for what constitutes an appropriate level of information necessary to launch a "credible inquiry" into allegations of homosexual behavior.

The change, which will take effect in 30 days and apply to all current cases, is a reflection of "common sense" and "common decency," Gates said. "These changes reflect some of the insights we have gained over 17 years of implementing the current law, including the need for consistency, oversight and clear standards."

President Obama and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, support a legislative repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," which was first enacted in 1993. Some senior members of the military, however, have expressed concern over the impact of the ban's repeal on unit cohesion and morale, among other things.

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