By now, I’m sure, you’ve heard about the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” that pesky policy in the U.S. military that bans gays and lesbians from openly discussing their sexual orientation and discharging them if they spilled the beans (or, you know, had someone report them kissing their partner in a Wal-Mart check-out aisle).
But after an incredibly long back-and-forth struggle featuring both legislative and judicial movements, the policy was repealed by the House of Representatives on Dec. 15 and by the Senate on Dec. 18. Now it just awaits President Obama’s signature, and all will be well. (Or, as Sen. John McCain put it, “Today is a very sad day. I hope that when we pass this legislation that we will understand that we are doing great damage.”)
I mean, there are a lot of steps that need to be taken now in terms of implementation and fully and appropriately reversing the 17-year-old policy. Read about those potential struggles at The Atlantic.
I absolutely applaud Congress for finally rectifying this obvious example of institutionalized homophobia, and I agree that we should celebrate. But I also think it’s essential to caution against the idea that the repeal of DADT means that the road to marriage equality and adoption by same-sex couples will be any easier. There was no religious argument against DADT—that may be part of why a gay Republican group like GOProud would be so supportive of repeal—but those religious rationales still stand; they will continue to argue that marriage is a one-man, one-woman kind of deal, and that no baby will ever be normal if it’s raised with two mommies or two daddies.
So, please, celebrate repeal of DADT! It truly is a momentous occasion. But stay concerned, remain fired-up, and understand that the continued path to equality is not based on a “once we overturn DADT, we’ll get marriage, too” philosophy.