Today, the military policy that made it illegal for gay and lesbian military members to serve openly officially ended.
Since it’s adoption by President Clinton in 1993, “don’t ask, don’t tell” has been responsible for the removal of over 14,000 gay and lesbian military officers. At the time, many hailed it as a positive policy because it made it illegal to inquire about a soldier’s sexual orientation. However, it led to the alienation and ouster of thousands of service members. Today, homosexual service members no longer have to fear being removed from the military and losing their benefits because of their sexual orientation.
The historic change in policy came at the end of a long ideological fight. Many who opposed lifting the policy argued that it would threaten national security because military members would feel uncomfortable serving with openly gay colleagues. However, proponents argued that there have always been gay and lesbian officers and nothing will change.
Although gays and lesbians can now serve openly, all members of the military will still be subject to strict personal conduct standards which limit fraternizing and public displays of affection. Because of this, many say the military will not see any dramatic changes, but will continue to carry out business as usual.
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