Gays can now serve openly in the Unites States military, following the official repeal of the contentious Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell bill on Sept 20.
The bill, introduced in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, allowed gays and lesbians to serve in the military so long as they were quiet about their sexual orientation. It also required that commanders not question soldiers about their sexual orientation.
“From this day forward, gay and lesbian soldiers may serve in our Army with the dignity and respect they deserve,” wrote Secretary of the Army John M McHugh, Sgt Major Raymond Chandler III and Army Chief of Staff Raymond Odierno, in an official statement. “Our rules, regulations and politics reflect the repeal guidance issued by the Department of Defense and will apply uniformly without regard to sexual orientation, which is a personal and private matter.”
In preparation for the repeal, all branches of the US military have spent several months training personnel and updating regulations. The official end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell means all pending investigations, discharges and other proceedings based solely on sexual orientation have also been dropped.