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Gates clarifies 'Don't Ask' study's focus is implementation

Letter also says study should inform congressional action

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Defense Secretary Robert Gates has reiterated in a new letter to Congress that the purpose of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” study currently underway in the Pentagon is to examine how to the lift the ban on open service and not “whether” it should be lifted.

In the same letter, dated May 6 and made public by the office Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Gates says that the study — which is due for completion December 1 — is also intended to inform what kind of action Congress should take on the issue.

The Gates letter responds to a May 3 letter from Levin in which the senator asks for clarification on the purpose of the study.

“Is the purpose of this comprehensive review to determine ‘whether’ to repeal the statute or is it to assess the issue related to ‘how’ to implement a repeal of the statute?” Levin asks.

In response, Gates recalls previous testimony in which he said the study is focused on preparing for repeal.

“In testimony before the Congress on February 2, 2010, I stated: ‘The question before us is not whether the military prepares to make this change but how we … best prepare for it,'” Gates says. “This remains my position and that of the Department of Defense.”

Gates says in accordance with his testimony, the working group is charged with assessing the impact of ending the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law and “developing a plan to implement such a repeal in the most informed and effective manner possible.”

In addition to clarifying the focus of the study, Gates says he intends the outcome of the working group’s effort to inform action taken by Congress.

“The outcome of this review is also intended to fully inform both Presidential and Congressional decision making to ensure a change in this law properly and fully addresses the various and complex considerations involved,” Gates says.

Alex Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United, said the new Gates letter leaves open the opportunity to pass this year delayed implementation legislation, or a bill that Congress would pass now and stop discharges only after the Pentagon completes its study. 

“If the study is a ‘how’ study, there should be no problem with delayed repeal this year,” Nicholson said. “When he says it’s a ‘how’ study, but he doesn’t support repeal this year, that’s a blatant contradiction.”

In a statement, Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said his organization remains focused on work to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this year.

“We are still working closely with Chairman Levin and all committee members for full repeal this year,” Sarvis said. “We are not going to comment further on this exchange between Secretary Gates and Chairman Levin.”

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National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Certifies Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc

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Washington, D.C. — Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc, the parent company of the Washington Blade and Azer Creative, announced today it has been certified by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) as an LGBT Business Enterprise. The NGLCC supports and advocates for diversity and inclusion for LGBT-owned businesses. With this certification the Blade’s parent company joins more than 510 business and 134 corporate partners of the NGLCC.

Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. owns and operates the Washington Blade, the oldest and most acclaimed LGBT newspaper in the country. In 2012, the company launched Azer Creative, a full-service design firm. The company employs more than a dozen full-time LGBT staff.

“We are excited to become one of the 500 LGBT businesses across the country certified by NGLCC,” said Lynne Brown, the Blade’s publisher and a co-owner of the company. “The LGBT community has been part of our company from the beginning and we look forward to continue that for many years to come.”

The Washington Blade was founded in 1969 and is known as the “newspaper of record” for the LGBT community both locally and nationally. Visit washingtonblade.com for more information. Azer Creative is a full-service graphic design firm based in Washington, D.C. Visit azercreative.com for more information. 

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Vote now for the 2013 Best of Gay DC!

Choose in dozens of categories among hundreds of nominees, and make your voice heard!

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Nominate the ‘Best of Gay D.C.’ now!

Dozens of categories cover all the best for LGBT Washington. Who deserves the prize this year?

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