Defense Secretary Robert Gates Thursday approved new rules that will make it harder to discharge gays from the military, calling the changes a matter of “common sense and common decency.”
Gates announced new guidelines for how the Pentagon carries out the 1993 law banning gays from serving openly in the military — rules which essentially put higher-ranking officers in charge of discharge proceedings and impose tougher requirements for evidence used against gays.
The new guidelines go into effect immediately and will apply to cases already open.
Here’s something which shows just how reprehensible the ban has been:
To discourage the use of overheard statements or hearsay, from now on any evidence given in third-party outings must be given under oath, Gates said. Cases of third-party outings also have included instances in which male troops have turned in women who rejected their romantic advances or jilted partners in relationship have turned in a former lover.
So, up until now, someone cold ruin a military career based on an accusation not made under oath? So, people may well have used a bad law to get at rivals.
“Nathaniel Frank, a senior research fellow with the Palm Center, which supports a repeal of the ban, said it is unclear how much of an impact the new guidelines would have because regulations already restrict third-party allegations.”
Still, this does seem a step in the right direction, toward repeal of the ban.