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Despite Reforms Dont Ask Dont Tell Continues to be Anti-GayMilitary The way it is administered just makes things worse The next president must address the failuresBy JANET E HALLEY Janet E Halley is a professor of law at Stanford University and the author of Dont A Readers Guide to the Militarys Anti-Gay PolicyDuke University Press 1999We finally have reforms in the implementation of the compromise dont ask dont tell dont pursue policy meant to settle the issue of gays in the military But the Clinton administration regulations continue to make the policy much worse even than the statute adopted by Congress Recent events implicitly confirm what critics have said all along This policy is no compromise Its outright anti-gayMuch of that cant be fixed without the cooperation of Congress But any future president could take the following steps toward fairness without seeking new legislation Restore dont ask This part of the supposed compromise never made it into the statute or the Clinton administrations implementing regulations It appears only in informal guidelines where it is always coupled with a warning that it is unenforceable chit-chat The new directives dont change that Commanders can still ask service members whether they are gay whenever they please Dont ask should be mandated and backed up with procedures for its enforcement Narrow the grounds for discharging people The statute says that commanders must process service members for discharge if they tell or if they engage in bodily contacts that manifest a propensity to engage in same-sex erotic acts But Clinton administration regulations still go way beyond that requiring commanders to start proceedings against service members who have engaged in conduct that manifests a propensity Various military enforcers have decided that this could include having a gay friend cutting your hair a certain way or objecting to the dont ask dont tell policy This is a viciously anti-gay rule allowing for arbitrary even imaginary charges and the new guidelines do nothing
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