Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Will Lift Heavy Psychological Burden, APA Says

WASHINGTON – The American Psychological Association hailed the Senate’s vote Saturday to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

“This long-awaited action is an important step toward allowing gays, lesbians, and bisexuals to serve openly and honorably in the armed forces,” said APA President Carol D. Goodheart, EdD. “Repeal of the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy will lift a heavy psychological burden of secrecy from gay, lesbian and bisexual military personnel.”

Lesbian, gay and bisexual service members positively contribute to U.S. military efforts around the world at a time when America’s armed forces are engaged in various conflicts. APA has long opposed the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. This stance reflects the APA Policy Statement on Sexual Orientation and Military Service, adopted by the association’s governing Council of Representatives in July 2004. In this policy statement, APA reaffirmed its opposition to discrimination based on sexual orientation and its commitment to disseminating scientific knowledge to ameliorate the negative effects of the current law through training and education.

Over the last year, APA actively lobbied in support of legislation to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Most recently, APA sent a letter to the Senate asking it to support language to repeal the policy as part of the defense authorization bill. In addition, APA provided feedback to the Department of Defense as it crafted a report on the aftermath of repeal. Goodheart said APA welcomes the opportunity to continue to work with the Pentagon in efforts to affect the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world’s largest association of psychologists. APA’s membership includes more than 150,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.