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Servicemembers Legal Defense Network unveils DADT repeal clock

WASHINGTON -- Yesterday marked 120 days since President Barack Obama signed legislation allowing for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT).

To call attention to the days, weeks, and months that continue to pass with DADT still in effect, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) unveiled a digital clock on its website to mark the time passed since the signing of the repeal legislation.

With the clock, the organization is also renewing its call on the U.S. military to accelerate the timeline for training the armed forces on repeal.

The clock will tick until certification takes place as specified in the law.

“While the clock ticks, America’s LGB service members remain under ‘Don’t Ask’ investigations. Training the armed forces on repeal is not complicated, and the Services should accelerate and complete this process in the second quarter of this year,” said Army veteran Aubrey Sarvis, SLDN executive director.

The legislation, signed on Dec. 22, 2010, requires the Pentagon to prepare the necessary policies and regulations before the President, Secretary of Defense, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs can certify that the military is ready for repeal, which will go into effect 60 days following the date of certification.

“Despite testimony this month from the service chiefs that training is creating no problems in the field, the Army has signaled that it might not finish training until as late as August, which would delay certification until at least October,” Sarvis said.

“That is a protracted and unnecessarily long time for training that can and should be accelerated starting today. We hope this clock will remind military leaders and others that while we wait, the lives of service members and their families are being adversely affected and anti-repeal forces continue to mount their campaign to repeal the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask.’”

Sarvis reiterated that repeal of DADT is only a first step toward full equality for LGBT service members.

“Ending ‘Don’t Ask’ discrimination does not mean the job is finished,” Sarvis said. “We still have much more work ahead of us after DADT is repealed. As the President has made clear, we must also implement anti-harassment policies and protocols while ensuring a smooth transition toward open service for all military personnel."

SLDN reminds servicemembers that they are still at risk. According to SLDN, "Despite the President signing the bill authorizing repeal of DADT, it is still unsafe for service members to come out until 60 days after certification by President Obama, Secretary Gates, and Admiral Mullen." The organization has posted a more detailed warning on its website.

SLDN encourages readers to download the clock for placement on their own sites, blogs, and Facebook accounts. Embed code, Facebook sharing tools, and suggested text is available online.

For more information about SLDN, click HERE.