Don't Ask, Don't Tell Essay

1522 words - 7 pages

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
The issue of gays in the military has been controversial in the United States for many decades. Over these decades there have been many different proposals as to what approach to take in order to handle the situation of homosexuals in the military. However, in 1992 when Bill Clinton was running for President of the United States, he made a promise to lift the ban on homosexuals in the military if he was elected (Washington Post). Bill Clinton followed through with his promise, and in December 1993 he instituted “a defense directive that military applicants should not to be asked about their sexual orientation” (Washington Post). This is now known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was the result of many things working together in order to create a policy that would not change the culture of the military and would be successful for many years.
Attempts to make a policy towards homosexuals in the military began in 1950 and continued until 2010. In 1950, President Harry Truman signed the Uniform Code of Military Justice, this was not adopted until 1951. Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice prohibits any acts of intercourse among personnel in the military, defining it as “any person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the offence." (USNI) This led to President Ronald Reagan stating that “homosexuality is incompatible with military service,” in a defense directive in 1982. (Washington Post) This caused people who took part in homosexual activities or stated that they were homosexual or bisexual to be discharged. (Washington Post) This was in place until 1993, when President Clinton fulfilled his promise to lift the ban on homosexuals in the military and introduced Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as a compromise. However, Congress inserted a statement into the bill that made it necessary for the military to abide by Reagan’s defense directive (Washington Post). It was in December 1993 that Clinton issued a defense directive that military candidates should not be asked about their sexual orientation (Washington Post). This allowed gays who were not openly gay to serve in the military, however it still prohibited openly gay people to serve in the military. Over the years, the law has faced its share of challenges, many which ended up in a court room. In 2006, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and the law was also upheld five times in federal courts (Washington Post). These doings have ultimately led up to the most recent actions involving the law. In 2008, President Obama campaigned on the promise that he would fully repeal the law (Washington Post). In 2010, both the Senate and House of Representatives voted to repeal the law, allowing President Obama to sign the repeal. (USNI) This repeal...

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