Jan 15, 2009

Say Good-bye to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy for Gays in the US Military

Once upon a time, there was a new president. He felt unsure of his powers. He worried about getting mired in a problem that might become too big for him. He did not like the no gays in the military thing and knew in his heart of hearts that it was unfair. But did he dare make a stink about it? Nope. He caved. Well, a little. He and his team came up with a compromise. It became known as the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. If you were an officer in any of the U.S. armed services, you were not allowed to ask another service member about sexual orientation. If you were gay, you were silenced. If it became known you were gay, you'd get the steel-toed boot. Ugh.

Thus, by a roundabout way, gay service men and women were allowed entree. It was a big improvement over the longstanding ban on gays in the military, but it was a fuzzy policy at best. That president was Bill Clinton, and the year was 1993.

Fast forward to today. New president coming in, one who is blessedly realistic about the many flavas of identity in the real world. This president aims to get it right and on the campaign trail, promised to overturn the policy. When asked recently, Obama's press secretary, Robert Gibbs, made an unequivocal answer of "Yes" to the question, "Will the Obama administration get rid of the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy?"

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