Skip to comments.Gates, Mullen Urge Participation in Survey
Posted on 07/08/2010 3:34:10 PM PDT by SandRat
WASHINGTON, July 8, 2010 Noting the importance of getting the opinions of those who would be most affected by a possible repeal of the so-called Dont Ask, Dont Tell law that bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today urged servicemembers to provide their input.
About 400,000 servicemembers are receiving an e-mail survey seeking their opinions, and the department has an online inbox at https://dadt.csd.disa.mil/ for additional feedback from common access card holders.
I think it is very important for us to understand from our men and women in uniform the challenges that they see, Gates said during a Pentagon news conference today, noting that the department needs their views on the subject and the challenges they see to implementing a possible change to the law.
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the department needs objective information that the survey can deliver, and emphasized that no one is drawing conclusions about the survey until it is finished.
To reach out at this point and try to predict either what they might say or what the results might say, I just think its too early with respect to that, the chairman said.
Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, commander of U.S. Army Europe, and Jeh Johnson, the Pentagons top lawyer, are leading a review panel thats assessing the current law.
I would say that this survey is a very important element of this effort, in part because while General Ham and General Counsel Jeh Johnson have talked to thousands of troops in dozens of military facilities, we have gotten several tens of thousands of comments and views by e-mail in response to the request for peoples thoughts on this, Gates said. This size sampling is obviously the most significant element of getting the views of the troops.
The survey released yesterday will go to 200,000 active duty servicemembers and 200,000 reserve-component personnel. Officials estimate it will take 30 minutes to complete the survey, and the deadline for returning them is Aug. 15. Another survey will go to 150,000 family members in August.
Gates insisted on doubling the sample size to its current level.
The original proposal was to sample 100,000 active-duty and 100,000 in the reserve component, he said. I strongly suggested that they double the size of the sample - that I wanted a significant percentage of the force to have an opportunity to offer their views on this.
The survey is confidential, the secretary pointed out.
I strongly encourage gays and lesbians who are in the military to fill out these forms, Gates said. Weve organized this in a way to protect their privacy and the confidentiality of their responses through a third party, and its important that we hear from them as well as everybody else. But I think we're satisfied that this is an important element of this effort, and that it's being done in a very professional way.
We’ve had a military for over 200 years....We want men...real men...
Since you are saying that this survey is by E-mail, I don’t see how any of this can a private vote—in any direction.
Your e-mail address connects you to your vote.
Not fair to anyone- especially in the military.
BTW—Gov of Hawaii vetoed a same sex marriage bill in Hawaii.
I would be proud to let the world know how disgusted I am with the whole DADT repeal mess. I'd even sign it willingly. Are the Gestapo going to get retribution? Fine, let the court cases begin.
BTWGov of Hawaii vetoed a same sex marriage bill in Hawaii.
Technically, it was a civil union bill, but we all get the point. "Marriage" by another name.
LGBT Pride Reception
Video Description - quote:
Free Download whitehouse June 22, 2010 President Obama speaks at a White House reception marking LGBT Pride Month. June 22, 2010.
News & Politics
LGBT pride pride month lesbian gay civil rights equality reception White House
NOTE: The following text is a quote:
Home Briefing Room Speeches & Remarks
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release June 22, 2010
Remarks by the President at LGBT Pride Month Reception
6:16 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, hello, hello! (Applause.) Hello, everybody! (Applause.) I was going to say welcome to the White House but you guys seem like you feel right at home. (Laughter.) You dont need me to tell you its the peoples house.
A couple of acknowledgements that I want to make very quickly first of all, our Director of the Office of Personnel Management, who has just done an extraordinary job across the government give John Berry a big round of applause. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: All right, John!
THE PRESIDENT: All right, John! (Laughter.)
Our chair of the Export/Import Bank, helping to bring jobs here to the United States of America Fred Hochberg. (Applause.) Our chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, doing outstanding work each and every day Nancy Sutley. Where is she? (Applause.) Nancy is a little vertically challenged, but I see her over there. (Laughter.)
Weve got here a trailblazer for federal appointees we are so proud of her Ms. Roberta Achtenberg is here. Give Roberta a big round of applause. (Applause.) And then I understand weve got a terrific country singer Chely Wright is in the house. (Applause.)
In addition I know they had to leave because they had votes, but you guys obviously dont have just fiercer warriors on your behalf than a couple of our openly gay and lesbian members of Congress Tammy Baldwin and Jared Polis. (Applause.) They are openly terrific. (Laughter.) They do great work.
And it is also great to have so many activists and organizers from around the country folks who fight every day for the rights of parents and children and partners and citizens to be treated equally under the law. And so we are very proud of all of you. (Applause.)
Oh, and by the way, the guy standing next to me this is Joe Biden. (Applause.) Just because hes a Phillies fan hes from Delaware. (Laughter.)
Now, look, the fact that weve got activists here is important because its a reminder that change never comes or at least never begins in Washington. It begins with acts of compassion - and sometimes defiance - across America. It begins when ordinary people - out of love for a mother or a father, son or daughter, or husband or wife - speak out against injustices that have been accepted for too long. And it begins when these impositions of conscience start opening hearts that had been closed, and when we finally see each others humanity, whatever our differences.
Now, this struggle is as old as America itself. Its never been easy. But standing here, I am hopeful. One year ago, in this room, we marked the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall protests. (Applause.) Some of you were here, and you may remember that I pledged then that even at a time when we faced enormous challenges both on the economy and in our foreign policy, that we would not put aside matters of basic equality. And we havent.
Weve got a lot of hard work that we still have to do, but we can already point to extraordinary progress that weve made over the past year on behalf of Americans who are gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender.
Just stay with me here for a second. Last year, I met with Judy Shepard, Matthew Shepards mom, and I promised her that after a decades-long struggle, we would pass inclusive hate crimes legislation. I promised that in the name of her son we would ensure that the full might of the law is brought down on those who would attack somebody just because they are gay. And less than six months later, with Judy by my side, we marked the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act. Its now the law of the land. (Applause.)
Just a few moments ago, I met with Janice Langbehn and her children. Where did Janice go? There they are right there. And when Janices partner of 18 years, Lisa, suddenly collapsed because of an aneurysm, Janice and the couples three kids were denied the chance to comfort their partner and their mom barred from Lisas bedside. It was wrong. It was cruel. And in part because of their story, I instructed my Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, to make sure that any hospital thats participating in Medicare or Medicaid - that means most hospitals (laughter) allow gay and lesbian partners the same privileges and visitation rights as straight partners. (Applause.)
After I issued that memorandum, I called Janice and I told her the news. And before we came out here today, I wanted to make sure that I had followed up Secretary Sebelius will officially be proposing this regulation. And I can also announce that the Secretary has sent a letter today asking these hospitals to adopt these changes now - even before the rule takes effect. (Applause.) Nothing can undo the hurt that her that Janices family has experienced. And nothing can undo the pain felt by countless others whove been through a similar ordeal - for example, Charlene Strong is here. She lost her wife, Kate Fleming and Charlene is here along with Kates mom, who said on behalf of all mothers, thank you. Because we think its the right thing to do. (Applause.)
In addition, Ive issued an executive order[SIC]* to extend as many partnership benefits to gay and lesbian federal employees as possible under current law. And Im going to continue to fight to change the law: to guarantee gay federal employees the exact same benefits as straight employees - including access to health insurance and retirement plans. (Applause.) And in an announcement today, the Department of Labor made clear that under the Family and Medical Leave Act, same-sex couples - as well as others raising children - are to be treated like the caretakers that they are. (Applause.)
Because I believe in committed I believe that committed gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple in this country, I have called for Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. (Applause.) We are pushing hard to pass an inclusive employee non-discrimination bill. (Applause.) No one in America should be fired because theyre gay. Its not right, its not who we are as Americans, and we are going to put a stop to it.
And finally, were going to end Dont Ask, Dont Tell. (Applause.) That is a promise I made as a candidate. It is a promise that I reiterated as President. Its one that this administration is going to keep. Now, the only way to lock this in - the only way to get the votes in Congress to roll back this policy is if we work with the Pentagon, who are in the midst of two wars.
And thats why we were gratified to see, for the first time ever, the Secretary of Defense, Bob Gates, testify in favor of repeal. And the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen, has repeatedly and passionately argued for allowing gay men and women to serve honestly in the military. (Applause.) We know that forcing gay and lesbian soldiers to live a lie or to leave the military, that doesnt contribute to our security it harms our security.
And thanks to Patrick Murphy and others, for the first time in history, the House has passed a repeal that would allow gay men and women to openly serve in our armed forces. And this repeal is authored so that the Pentagon can complete its review of the policy which is critical, by the way, not only to passage, but its also critical to making sure that the change is accepted and implemented effectively. In the Senate, the Armed Services Committee has approved repeal for the first time, and the full body is poised to vote soon.
So heres the bottom line: We have never been closer to ending this discriminatory policy. And Im going to keep on fighting until that bill is on my desk and I can sign it. (Applause.)
Of course, ultimately, change is about more than just policies in our government. And thats why I want to close by recognizing all the young people who are here - I had a chance to take a bunch of pictures with them, just really impressive folks who are advocating on their behalf. I know there are some in the audience who have experienced pain in their lives, who at times have been felt like outcasts, who have been scorned or bullied, and I know that there are families here on behalf of loved ones who are no longer with us, some in part because of the particularly difficult challenges that gay men and women still face.
This is a reminder that we all have an obligation to ensure that no young person is ever made to feel worthless or alone ever. Now, at the same time, I think theres plenty of reason to have some hope for many of the young people including those who are here today. Theyve shown incredible courage and incredible integrity standing up for who they are. Theyve refused to be anything less than themselves.
And we all remember being young sort of. (Laughter.) But its not easy. Its not easy standing up all the time and being who you are. But theyre showing us the way forward. These young people are helping to build a more perfect union, a nation where all of us are equal; each of us is free to pursue our own versions of happiness.
And I believe because of them that the future is bright. Its certainly bright for them. Of course, it does depend on all of us. It depends on the efforts of government and the activism of ordinary citizens like yourselves. It depends on the love of families and the support of communities. And I want you all to know that as this work continues, Im going to be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with you, fighting by your side every step of the way. (Applause.)
So, thank you. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
END 6:29 P.M. EDT
*Clarification: The President signed a Presidential Memorandum on June 2, to extend benefits to same-sex domestic partners of federal employees. Click HERE to view the memo on whitehouse.gov.
NOTE The following text is a quote:
Home Briefing Room Presidential Actions Presidential Memoranda
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release June 02, 2010
Presidential Memorandum-Extension of Benefits to Same-Sex Domestic Partners of Federal Employees
MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
SUBJECT: Extension of Benefits to Same-Sex Domestic Partners of Federal Employees
For far too long, many of our Governments hard-working, dedicated LGBT employees have been denied equal access to the basic rights and benefits their colleagues enjoy. This kind of systemic inequality undermines the health, well-being, and security not just of our Federal workforce, but also of their families and communities. That is why, last June, I directed the heads of executive departments and agencies (agencies), in consultation with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), to conduct a thorough review of the benefits they provide and to identify any that could be extended to LGBT employees and their partners and families. Although legislative action is necessary to provide full equality to LGBT Federal employees, the agencies have identified a number of benefits that can be extended under existing law. OPM, in consultation with the Department of Justice, has provided me with a report recommending that all of the identified benefits be extended.
Accordingly, I hereby direct the following:
Section 1. Immediate Actions To Extend Benefits. Agencies should immediately take the following actions, consistent with existing law, in order to extend benefits to the same-sex domestic partners of Federal employees, and, where applicable, to the children of same-sex domestic partners of Federal employees:
(a) The Director of OPM should take appropriate action to:
(i) clarify that the children of employeessame-sex domestic partners fall within the definition of child for purposes of Federal child-care subsidies, and, where appropriate, for child-care services;
(ii) clarify that, for purposes of employee assistance programs, same-sex domestic partners and their children qualify as family members;
(iii) issue a proposed rule that would clarify that employees same-sex domestic partners qualify as family members for purposes of noncompetitive appointments made pursuant to Executive Order 12721 of July 30, 1990;
(iv) issue a proposed rule that would add a Federal retirees same-sex domestic partner to the list of individuals presumed to have an insurable interest in the employee pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 8339(k)(1), 8420;
(v) clarify that under appropriate circumstances, employees same-sex domestic partners and their children qualify as dependents for purposes of evacuation payments made under 5 U.S.C. 5522-5523;
(vi) amend its guidance on implementing President Clintons April 11, 1997, memorandum to heads of executive departments and agencies on Expanded Family and Medical Leave Policies to specify that the 24 hours of unpaid leave made available to Federal employees in connection with (i) school and early childhood educational activities; (ii) routine family medical purposes; and (iii) elderly relatives health or care needs, may be used to meet the needs of an employees same-sex domestic partner or the same-sex domestic partners children; and
(vii) clarify that employees same-sex domestic partners qualify as dependents for purposes of calculating the extra allowance payable under 5 U.S.C. 5942a to assist employees stationed on Johnston Island, subject to any limitations applicable to spouses.
(b) The Administrator of General Services should take appropriate action to amend the definitions of immediate family and dependent appearing in the Federal Travel Regulations, 41 C.F.R. Chs. 300-304, to include same-sex domestic partners and their children, so that employees and their domestic partners and children can obtain the full benefits available under applicable law, including certain travel, relocation, and subsistence payments.
(c) All agencies offering any of the benefits specified by OPM in implementing guidance under section 3 of this memorandum, including credit union membership, access to fitness facilities, and access to planning and counseling services, should take all appropriate action to provide the same level of benefits that is provided to employees spouses and their children to employees same-sex domestic partners and their children.
(d) All agencies with authority to provide benefits to employees outside of the context of title 5, United States Code should take all appropriate actions to ensure that the benefits being provided to employees spouses and their children are also being provided, at an equivalent level wherever permitted by law, to their employees same-sex domestic partners and their children.
Sec. 2. Continuing Obligation To Provide New Benefits. In the future, all agencies that provide new benefits to the spouses of Federal employees and their children should, to the extent permitted by law, also provide them to the same-sex domestic partners of their employees and those same-sex domestic partners children. This section applies to appropriated and nonappropriated fund instrumentalities of such agencies.
Sec. 3. Monitoring and Guidance. The Director of OPM shall monitor compliance with this memorandum, and may instruct agencies to provide the Director with reports on the status of their compliance, and prescribe the form and manner of such reports. The Director of OPM shall also issue guidance to ensure consistent and appropriate implementation.
Sec. 4. Reporting. By April 1, 2011, and annually thereafter, the Director of OPM shall provide the President with a report on the progress of the agencies in implementing this memorandum until such time as all recommendations have been appropriately implemented.
Sec. 5. General Provisions. (a) Except as expresslystated herein, nothing in this memorandum shall be construedto impair or otherwise affect:
(i) authority granted by law or Executive Orderto an agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) functions of the Director of the Officeof Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
Sec. 6. Publication. The Director of OPM is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.
"And finally, were going to end Dont Ask, Dont Tell. (Applause.) That is a promise I made as a candidate. It is a promise that I reiterated as President. Its one that this administration is going to keep. Now, the only way to lock this in - the only way to get the votes in Congress to roll back this policy is if we work with the Pentagon, who are in the midst of two wars."
See comments following article at link.
NOTE The following text is a quote:
Survey Will Permit Informed Decisions, Official Says
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 9, 2010 Survey responses on the possible repeal of the law that bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military will allow leaders to make informed decisions, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said today.
Morrell said many stories that have resulted from advocacy groups leaking a 103-question survey e-mailed this week to 400,000 servicemembers have been inflammatory in the worst case, and misleading in the best case.
Defense Department officials wanted the survey to remain confidential, Morrell said, but the distribution of the survey to 200,000 active duty servicemembers and 200,000 reserve-component personnel worked against that aim.
The survey was designed to be a confidential conversation between the a Defense Department working group studying the matter, in particular, and a large representative sample of the force, Morrell said.
We thought it would be breaking faith with them for us to be proactively sharing the survey, he said, because what we are trying to do is preserve the credibility and integrity of the answers that it elicits from the force.
Outside influence is not helpful to the process, Morrell said.
The survey is designed to get the attitudes of the force on how to proceed if Congress repeals the so-called Dont Ask, Dont Tell law, and is not a referendum on whether or not the law should be repealed, Morrell said. The answers, he added, will inform the working groups deliberations.
Pentagon officials worked with a professional and reputable polling firm to produce the survey, Morrell noted. Roughly the first third of the 103 questions seeks demographic information. The second third asks about professional and military experience. The final third asks how the laws repeal might affect the individual being surveyed, he explained.
The working group led by Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, commander of U.S. Army Europe, and Jeh Johnson, the Defense Departments general counsel, already has spoken with 14,000 servicemembers, Morrell said. Another 33,000 servicemembers have interacted with the department electronically, he added.
Of the responses to date, Morrell said, many included concerns about privacy issues. Clearly, he said, a component of this scientific survey had to deal with privacy questions. Ten survey questions address privacy issues surrounding bathing facilities, living facilities and social settings.
We think it would be irresponsible to conduct a survey that didnt address these questions, Morrell said, because when Dont Ask, Dont Tell is repealed, we will have to determine if there are any challenges in those particular areas, any adjustments that need to be made in terms of how we educate the force, or perhaps even facility adjustments that need to be made to deal with those scenarios.
But we wont know any of that until we get a sense from the force of their attitudes, he continued. It could turn out, based on this survey, that there are far fewer concerns than we are led to believe. There could more or different concerns than we had anticipated.
But Defense Department officials need the information generated from this survey to make smart decisions, Morrell said.
We need people to participate in this survey to get a scientific understanding of the attitudes of the force, or the concerns, or issues or opportunities that may result from a repeal of Dont Ask, Dont Tell, he said.
Dont Ask, Dont Tell Online Inbox (Requires Common Access Card)
Special Report: Policy Review: Dont Ask, Dont Tell
Gates, Mullen Urge Participation in Survey
Dont Ask, Dont Tell Surveys Hit Servicemembers Inboxes