President Obama and Pentagon leaders gave the green light on Friday to start the 60-day time period for when “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will be off the books and openly gay Americans will be entirely free to serve in the U.S. military.
[...] Under the repeal law signed in December, the military’s gay ban will be lifted once the president, the defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify the armed forces are ready for open service. Consequently, now that repeal has been certified, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will be off the books on Sept. 20.
Other inequities exist between gay service members with partners or spouses and straight service members in marriages on issues such as living expenses and medical care, travel, housing benefits. Much of this inequity is because of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage.
LGBT advocates are also expressing concerns about transgender people still being unable to serve openly in the U.S. military. But openly transgender Americans can’t serve openly not because of law, but by regulation — so the change could be implemented administratively.
An executive order prohibiting discrimination against service members based on sexual orientation and gender identity would also stop the separations of service members who come out as transgender.