Signing Is Not the End

DADT repeal still requires multiple steps after historic legislative success

Although President Barack Obama signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 into law on Wednesday, Dec. 22, the law remains in effect – for now.

As White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Dec. 20, the Departments of Defense and Justice are preparing implementation plans for the repeal. Those plans must be completed, under the repeal law’s requirements, before the president, defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will certify that the changes needed to implement repeal are ”consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the armed forces.”

Even then, a 60-day congressional review period must pass – during which time congressional hearings are expected, but no further votes are needed – before 10 U.S.C. 654, the DADT law, will be off the books.

Another sticking point that remains is litigation. The Log Cabin Republicans already announced that they intend to keep pressing their case – Log Cabin Republicans v. United States – for the time being. In addition to the LCR case, other cases by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and the ACLU remain active at the trial or appellate level.

As such, the DADT Repeal Act of 2010 signing, though a clear victory for equality, is not even an end to that battle, which is – of course – only one of many on the path to full equality in law for LGBT Americans.