One of the more contentious points of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell debate was whether the Pentagon was considering building separate barracks and showers for gay servicemembers, with some fearing a “separate but equal” mandate.
But the Pentagon report on how best to repeal the policy, released today, recommends no separate facilities, saying such a move would “wrongly isolate and stigmatize” gay troops.“A large number of Service members expressed their discomfort in sharing bathroom facilities or living quarters with those they know to be gay or lesbian,” the report reads. “The Working Group recommends that the Department of Defense prohibit the creation of separate bathroom and shower facilities based on sexual orientation. Besides being logistically impractical, ‘separate but equal’ facilities would wrongly isolate and stigmatize some Service members.”
The reviews recommendations are, of course, just recommendations and nonbinding. But both Defense Secretary Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mullen said today they fully support the report, and Gates told reporters, “The bottom line of the report is, No separate facilities.”