Gates Says ‘Common Sense, Common Decency’ Should Guide ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
As TWI reported yesterday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is changing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” enforcement significantly, even before Congress passes any changes to the law. Gates said it was time to add “a greater measure of common sense and common decency” to the process of investigating servicemembers for their sexual orientation.
Process-wise, Gates said that from now on, only an officer of lieutenant colonel or commander rank or higher is permitted to conduct a fact-finding inquiry, and only a general officer in the accused’s chain of command can discharge a servicemember for violating the ban on openly gay service. As we reported, the standards of evidence to be brought in such inquiries are now significantly raised: Nothing a servicemember tells a clergymember, shrink, official conducting a security-clearance investigation or medical professional is admissible. All information given by third parties must now be given under oath.”We will revise what constitutes a reliable person, upon whose word an inquiry could be initiated, with special scrutiny on third parties who may be motivated to harm the service member,” Gates said.
The new rules now apply to “every case currently open,” Gates added.