Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repealed

Caroline Cook

With a vote of 65-31 to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the Senate lifted the iron curtain barring gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members from serving openly in the military on Saturday, Dec. 18. On Dec. 22, President Obama signed the bill, officially bringing the policy to a close.

The 17-year policy was a compromise resulting from President Clinton’s 1993 attempt to remove the enduring ban on gays in the U.S. military. Until Dec. 22, the United States was the only member of NATO maintaining such a ban after the European Court of Human Rights declared it unlawful in the UK.

Not only did the senatorial vote mark a historic moment, equated by supporters with the end of racial segregation in the military, but allowed Obama to fulfill the pledge he made during his presidential campaign to reverse the ban.  Prior to the vote, a comprehensive review, conducted by the Pentagon barely saw open LGBT service as threatening to military efficiency despite concerns voiced by a few combat units and the Marine Corps.

Many supporters of the repeal believe that it is long overdue, and that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell cost valuable personnel and forced troops to lie in order to serve their country. In a statement, President Obama further applauded the Senate for moving towards repeal.

“By ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, no longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans forced to leave the military, despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay,” said Obama. “And no longer will many thousands more be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love.”