Celebrating Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell With A Little More Patience

Scales of JusticeWe wrote not that long ago bemoaning the ever-changing status of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), and it looks like we may just be plucking that thorn in the side of every LGBT military servicemember. On Saturday, December 18, 2010, following the house vote on Wednesday, the Senate voted to repeal this hateful piece of legislation.

But if you are in the military, whether active or retired, it’s not safe to come out yet. If you don’t believe us, check in with the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network before you and yours start a campaign of holiday cards outing yourselves. SLDN warns that the process of fully repealing DADT has a few steps left to go in the process, so for now, it’s not safe to be out and in the service. Still, passing both chambers is great news and we think we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief that our servicemembers who risk their lives for our country will soon be able to be open about who they love. Our message for you, though, is: don’t celebrate prematurely and risk your career in the meantime.

DADT has been hurting LGBT folks and their families for seventeen years: it has cost LGBT servicemembers their jobs, it has cost LGBT servicemembers their retirements, it keeps servicemembers from marrying, it keeps servicemembers from extending their families (or at least from participating in adoptions that are good for the kids they are raising), and for some servicemembers, DADT just plain paralyzes them with the fear of far-reaching repercussions for loving someone of the same-sex.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

We’re on the cusp of change. It’s been 17 long years. In the face of the congressional votes last week, we know it may be hard for some of you, but please wait just a little longer before publicly celebrating the long-awaited change.

We hope you’re staying warm during this holiday season. And remember, we welcome your questions

and encourage you to ask them before your Big Day.

Legally Yours,

Heather & Emily



Photo Credit: © Tmcnem | Dreamstime.com

Heather McCabe and Emily Russell are family law practitioners who regularly serve the LGBT community in all kinds of legal affairs – from adoptions to dissolutions/divorces. McCabe has taught family law and legal writing and has been on the faculty at Georgetown Law, American University, and University of Baltimore. Russell worked as a lobbyist before coming to the law. Whether through document drafting, mediation, collaborative law, or litigation, McCabe and Russell are committed to the creation and security of the unique families they serve.