President Obama signs the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010.
The successful Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal that came down from a federal appeals court in July went into effect Tuesday, allowing openly gay men and lesbians to serve in the U.S. military. This ends the DADT policy which had been in force since Clinton’s presidency in the mid-90s, and allowed for closeted homosexual or bisexual members to serve but barred any openly homosexual or bisexual members.
Don't Ask Don't Tell History Shown In Video Below
The new policy replacing DADT is said to be blind to sexual orientation, and Pentagon leaders say it will have no negative impact on “military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion and recruiting and retention.”
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, on the other hand, prohibited anyone who demonstrated a “propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" from serving in the armed forces of the United States, because their presence "would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability."
While there are no doubt some in the military who will continue to support the previous policy of discriminating and barring openly gay and lesbian people, it is not a policy that will be upheld by the U.S. government anymore.
The Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal allows approximately 70,000 "currently serving" lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender military personnel to be allowed to be open about who they are without hiding, if they choose.
Many are already making their sexual identity public, including one man at the forefront of the years-long movement to repeal DADT, who went under the pseudonym of J.D. Smith because he is an active duty member. Smith, or Josh Seefried as it says on his birth certificate, is the co-founder and co-director of the group OutServe, which was created to act as the “Association of Actively Serving LGBT Military Personnel.”
Seefried, an airman serving on a base in New Jersey, can be open about his identity for the first time since joining the military, and can even change the name on his book "Our Time: Breaking the Silence of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell" from J.D. Smith to his real name.
"It will be a huge relief," Seefried said to CNN Monday.
(Photo: Washington Post)
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