Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was a policy enacted by former President Bill Clinton in 1993, a policy that prohibited openly gay and lesbian citizens from serving in any branch of the military. President Obama declared this policy discriminatory, as did many Americans who supported the government’s opinion to abolish this policy. Why does the sexual orientation of an American affect his or her ability to fight in a war? And, more importantly, why should we care about someone’s sexual orientation? In a country where we pride ourselves on freedom, sexual orientation should not be a deciding factor on who defends our rights. As Joint Chief Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was “against everything we stood for as an organization, forcing people to lie to wear a uniform. We’re better than that.” Mullen was a supporter of the repeal from day one. Recent reports suggest an estimated 65,000 gays currently enlisted would be impacted by this repeal. Gay and lesbian service members no longer need to live in fear that someone will learn the truth about who they are. The 14,000 gay service members who were discharged in the last 18 years are welcomed to reenlist, though that will be a slow process because of the state of our economy. A large number of service members proudly announced being gay or lesbian immediately after the repeal was made official at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday. The military has a stronglyenforced notolerance policy for harassment due to sexual orientation. Unfortunately, the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell only went so far, since benefits for samesex partners have been left unsettled in the military. Gay and lesbian couples will not receive benefits and spouses will not be allowed to live on base or attend family support groups. However, military officials in support of the repeal plan to take steps to make amends for the inconveniences placed on gays because of this policy. Though not all battles have been won for gays in the military, their lives are undoubtedly improving. In President Obama’s words, “patriotic Americans in uniform will no longer have to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love.” blog comments powered by Disqus
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was dishonorable and un-American, and we celebrate today as it officially becomes a relic of the past,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz tweeted on September 20, the day the law was repealed.