Pentagon to Gays: Please Stay in the Closet

The Pentagon has advised gay soldiers not to come out in the wake of a court order ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell. This is a very pro-gay move.

Josh Marshall passes along a memo (“SUBJECT:  Homosexual Conduct Discharge Processing”) from Under Secretary of Defense Clifford L. Stanley.

Josh summarizes it “Pentagon sends memo to members of the Armed Forces telling them to stay in the closet a bit longer, notwithstanding the court yelling stopping enforcement of DADT.”  But Stanley gets it right.    Essentially, he’s informing troops directly affected by 12 October court order that they might be in jeopardy because the Pentagon has filed an appeal and that, if a stay is granted or the decision overturned, anyone who comes out — thus violating the “Don’t Tell” part of the famous Clintonian compromise — would be subject to discharge.

Interestingly, this strikes me as a very pro-gay move.  There’s an excellent chance that the order will be overturned and the policy reinstated for some period of time.  If the Pentagon were interested in identifying and purging gays from the ranks, it seems to me that they would view this as a trap and stay quiet.   That they’ve gone through the trouble to send out this memo indicates that they want gays to continue serving.  Presumably, they fully expect — as do I — that gays will be allowed to serve openly one way or the other in the near future.

As an aside, because I think process matters, my strong preference here would be for the stay and/or the decision to be overturned, reinstating the current policy, and then for President Obama and Congress to quickly overturn the policy.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. steve says:

    It wont happen with this Congress. All of the Republicans will vote against it. I suspect Lieberman and/or a couple of the other Dems from red states will also oppose it. Nothing gets a straight up or down vote anymore. Even less likely to happen with the next Congress.


  2. JKB says:

    This is a wise move from a leadership stand point. No reason to create a situation where the troops feel betrayed because some outed themselves but then the legal situation changed requiring action. The betrayal would have been felt by all the troops since it would be perceived as an unfair trap.

  3. steve says:

    McCain’s words.

    “”Absolutely I will filibuster or stop it from being brought up until we have a thorough and complete study on the effect of morale and battle effectiveness.””