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This should come as no surprise to anyone

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. John P. Richardson
  • 466 AES First Sergeant
This should come as no surprise to anyone.

The repeal of 10 USC Section 654, better known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," is drawing near. It's only a matter of weeks. To prepare ourselves for this dramatic shift in our personnel process, we must understand exactly what the repeal of DADT is and what is expected of every one of us.

The basic procedural changes of the DADT repeal are fairly obvious. Upon repeal, currently serving members will no longer be subject to administrative separation based solely on legal homosexual acts; a statement that he or she is homosexual or bisexual; or because of marriage or attempted marriage to a person known to be of the same sex. Also, sexual orientation will not be a bar to joining the military regardless if it is known or not. So beyond the obvious rewrite of many instructions and policies, what will be expected of Air Force members when the repeal occurs?

The most important expectation is one that has been levied upon us since well before the repeal: all personnel are to be treated with respect and professionalism. Every Airman is charged with maintaining the highest standards of professionalism on and off duty. And leaders at all levels are responsible for holding their subordinates accountable for failing to meet these standards.

And here's where the finger wagging comes in: the full force of the UCMJ will be levied upon anyone who harasses, intimidates, discriminates or otherwise creates a hostile environment for another member due to his or her sexual orientation. Conversely, anyone failing to take action to stop such behavior will also be punished accordingly.

Now, some rumor control.

Quarters/Bathrooms - There will not be any separate bathroom facilities or living quarters for personnel based solely on their sexual orientation. However, commanders will still be allowed to modify lodging/housing/billeting in the interest of morale, mission performance, and good order and discipline.

Opposition to DADT Repeal - Personnel who do not wish to serve in the military due to their opposition of the DADT repeal will not be allowed to separate solely for that reason.

Benefits - There will be no immediate changes to eligibility requirements for benefits. Some benefits will not be available because there are local, state and federal laws that prohibit extending benefits to same-sex couples at this time.

While we don't know the exact date of the appeal, we do know this: upon repeal, regardless of your stand on the issue, you will be expected to adhere to the highest standards of professionalism and conduct and ensure others do as well. Our core values allow for nothing less.