Congress should put the brakes on the latest attempt to thwart the repeal of the policy banning openly gay individuals from the military.
The repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" was signed into law by President Obama in December. But several amendments tacked onto the defense spending bill would require all five military service chiefs to certify that repealing the ban would not impact combat readiness and effectiveness.
That's an unnecessary step, since such certification is already required by the president, the defense secretary, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The heads of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard have said their job is to provide for a smooth transition, not to decide when that transition begins.
A recent survey of U.S. troops and their families concluded that lifting the ban would have little impact on the military and troops' ability to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many among the military's top brass have also said that the anti-gay policy should be repealed.
The services have been given time to draft new regulations and brief service members about the changed policy. The repeal will become effective 60 days after the president, defense secretary, and Joint Chiefs chairman make their certification report.
It's time to move forward. More than 13,000 troops have already been dismissed under the ban based on sexual orientation. It has cost the military millions to replace those soldiers, many of whom had needed expertise.
Congress should stand by the law it passed and start letting gay and lesbian soldiers and sailors who want to honorably serve their country do so without having to also hide who they are.