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The end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

September 21, 2011

“Even though the law goes away, it will still be the white elephant in the room until everyone comes to terms with it,” said Navy Lt. Gary Ross.

The congressional bill to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy was enacted last December, followed by President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sending certification to Congress in July that the repeal would not harm the military’s readiness and ability to fight in combat, which then led us to the historical end of DADT on September 20, 2011. Since December 1993, the DADT policy prohibited military personnel from discriminating against or harassing closeted lesbian, gay, or bi-sexual (LGBT) service members or applicants, while barring openly LGBT persons from military service altogether. So after 18 years of forced secrets and lying, military personnel are now allowed to be open about their sexuality without fear of termination or discrimination.

Pentagon press secretary George Little said Monday that the military is prepared for the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” a practice adopted in 1993 that allowed gays to serve as long as they did not openly acknowledge their sexual orientation. Commanders were not allowed to ask.

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