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'Don't ask, don't tell' repeal going well

March 20, 2012 at 11:35 PM

WASHINGTON, March 20 (UPI) -- U.S. officials say the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that had barred gays from serving in the military openly has been a non-issue.

Six months after the ban on openly gay military service members was lifted, the new rules have been implemented without much complaint, Stars and Stripes reported Tuesday.

Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez said the repeal is "proceeding smoothly across the Department of Defense," which is due to the "enforcement of standards by our military leaders" and "service members' adherence to core values that include discipline and respect."

Officials at the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a pro-repeal group, said they've only received a few minor complaints.

"We had thought this would be largely a non-event and that has been the case," said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the group. "I think the new regulations permitting gays and lesbians to serve are unambiguous and the commands have all made it abundantly clear that this is the direction the force is going."

Opponents of the repeal, however, remain pessimistic.

Elaine Donnelly, president of the conservative Center for Military Readiness, said many troops oppose working with openly gay colleagues, but fear speaking out about it.

"The entire administration … has imposed 'zero tolerance' policies against persons who are not enthusiastic supporters of LGBT law," she said. "This is what we predicted, but the effects will not be seen quickly, especially in an election year."

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