It’s been a year since President Obama repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), making way for openly gay and lesbian servicemen and women to serve in the U.S. military. The first academic study has recently been released by the Palm Center, indicating that despite initial claims, there has been no negative impact on military readiness, recruitment or even morale. Co-authors of the study, whose publication coincides with the anniversary of DADT repeal, include professors at the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy and U.S. Marine Corps War College.
“Even in those units that included openly LGB service members,” the report says, “and that consequently should have been the most likely to experience a drop in cohesion as a result of repeal, cohesion did not decline after the new policy of open service was put into place. In fact, greater openness and honesty resulting from repeal seem to have promoted increased understanding, respect and acceptance.”
Other findings conclude that the DADT repeal has not been responsible for any new wave of violence or physical abuse among service members either. “The policy change appears to have enabled some LGB service members to resolve disputes around harassment and bias in ways that were not possible prior to repeal,” says the report. “There was no wave of mass disclosures of sexual orientation after repeal, and a minority of heterosexual service members reported in an independent survey that, after repeal, someone in their unit disclosed being LGB or that an LGB service member joined their unit.”
The report also predicts that long-term effects of the decision of serving openly are expected to be positive: The “DADT repeal has enhanced the military’s ability to pursue its mission.”