The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

The Text of Lieberman’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal

Last updated: 07/31/2020 08:00 | 05/25/2010 04:34
Vishal Hodgson

I didn’t have it when I put my piece to bed last night, but here it is. It’s short and straightforward. Repeal only takes effect after the Pentagon working group on implementing a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal delivers its recommendations in December and the president, the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff give their assent to how that internal Pentagon process will proceed.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) will introduce this language into the Senate Armed Services Committee’s mark-up of the fiscal 2011 Defense Authorization Act on Wednesday. He has the support of chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.); Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Penn.) for a complementary measure in the House version of the bill during this week’s floor debate; and, finally, the White House.

But while the press today might be writing that the White House deal means the fight is effectively over, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal activists are just gearing up for a grueling week. As I wrote in my piece, the Human Rights Campaign is putting millions of dollars and tons of locally based effort around the country into urging wavering senators on the committee to vote for Lieberman’s text and for the House amendment. Michael Cole of the Human Rights Campaign noted to me yesterday that “even though we have some outstanding congressional leaders, our issues are continually ones that require education and making sure members understand these issues and why it’s important to protect the community.”

Here’s the text of the Lieberman amendment:

Committee Amendment Proposed by Mr. Lieberman

At the appropriate place in title V, insert the following:



(1) IN GENERAL.—On March 2, 2010, the Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum directing the Comprehensive Review on the Implementation of a Repeal of 10 U.S.C. § 654 (section 654 of title 10, United States Code).

(2) OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE OF REVIEW.—The Terms of Reference accompanying the Secretary’s memorandum established the following objectives and scope of the ordered review:

(A) Determine any impacts to military readiness, military effectiveness and unit cohesion, recruiting/retention, and family readiness that may result from repeal of the law and recommend any actions that should be taken in light of such impacts.

(B) Determine leadership, guidance, and training on standards of conduct and new policies.

(C) Determine appropriate changes to existing policies and regulations, including but not limited to issues regarding personnel management, leadership and training, facilities, investigations, and benefits.

(D) Recommend appropriate changes (if any) to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

(E) Monitor and evaluate existing legislative proposals to repeal 10 U.S.C. § 654 and proposals that may be introduced in the Congress during the period of the review.

(F) Assure appropriate ways to monitor the workforce climate and military effectiveness that support successful follow-through on implementation.

(G) Evaluate the issues raised in ongoing litigation involving 10 U.S.C. § 654.

(b) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by subsection (f) shall take effect only on the date on which

the last of the following occurs:

(1) The Secretary of Defense has received the

report required by the memorandum of the Secretary referred to in subsection (a).

(2) The President transmits to the congressional defense committees a written certification, signed by the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stating each of the following:

(A) That the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have considered the recommendations contained in the report and the report’s proposed plan of action.

(B) That the Department of Defense has prepared the necessary policies and regulations to exercise the discretion provided by the amendments made by subsection (f).

(C) That the implementation of necessary policies and regulations pursuant to the discretion provided by the amendments made by subsection (f) is consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces.

(c) NO IMMEDIATE EFFECT ON CURRENT POLICY.— Section 654 of title 10, United States Code, shall remain in effect until such time that all of the requirements and certifications required by subsection (b) are met. If these requirements and certifications are not met, section 654 of title 10, United States Code, shall remain in effect.

(d) BENEFITS.—Nothing in this section, or the amendments made by this section, shall be construed to

require the furnishing of benefits in violation of section 9 7 of title 1, United States Code (relating to the definitions of “marriage” and “spouse” and referred to as the “Defense of Marriage Act”).

(e) NO PRIVATE CAUSE OF ACTION.—Nothing in this section, or the amendments made by this section, shall be construed to create a private cause of action.


(1) TITLE10.—Upon the effective date established by subsection (b), chapter 37 of title 10, 18 United States Code, is amended—

(A) by striking section 654; and (B) in the table of sections at the beginning of such chapter, by striking the item relating to section 654.

(2) CONFORMINGAMENDMENT.—Upon the effective date established by subsection (b), section ARM10802 S.L.C. 571 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1994 (10 U.S.C. 654 note) is amended by striking subsections (b), (c), and (d).

Vishal Hodgson | Healing people who have been through traumatic or painful experiences is one of my greatest passions. I’m a psychologist, Studied Sociology & Psychology at University of Cambridge, and today I’m assisting people in developing positive self-perceptions and improving their relationships so that they can identify themselves as peaceful, complete, whole, and stable.


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