‘DON’T ASK DON’T TELL’ repeal now in effect – latimes.com
‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ repeal lets gays, lesbians serve openly
September 20, 2011 | 9:12 am
With Tuesday’s repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, gays and lesbians are now free to serve openly in the U.S. armed services.
The U.S. military has spent months preparing for the repeal, updating regulations and training to reflect the impending change, and the Pentagon has already begun accepting applications from openly gay men and women.
The historic shift follows years of battle and debate over the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, also referred to as “DADT.” When it was signed by President Clinton in 1993, the policy was hailed by proponents for extending protection to gays and lesbians serving their country. Under the law, commanders were not allowed to ask about someone’s sexual orientation, and gays and lesbians were expected to keep their orientation under wraps.
But as gays and lesbians continued to fight for equal rights in other areas of society, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy grew to become a painful reminder that those in the military still had to hide their sexual orientation. Moreover, gays and lesbians who were open about their sexual orientation — or who were outed — faced punishment and expulsion.