For many years the United States military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy protected closeted gay, lesbian, or bisexuals from experiencing discrimination and harassment. The same policy also prevented these same people from serving the military as openly gay. The policy was introduced in 1993 during the presidency of Bill Clinton who had made the campaign promise to allow people of all sexual orientations to serve in the military. Prior to that, homosexuality was considered incompatible with service and those found out were subject to automatic dismissal.
On September 20 at 12:01 a.m., the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy was repealed. While many from the LGBT community are celebrating this decision, some members of the community don’t think it goes far enough. While they are now allowed to be open about their sexual orientation without fear of discharge, they argue it still does not protect this group from any form experiencing harassment or discrimination.
The Family Research Council (a Christian American lobbying group) had urged the pentagon to postpone this decision. In a press statement released on September 19, FRC President Tony Perkins stated, “The American military exists for only one purpose – to fight and win wars. Yet, tomorrow, the U.S. military becomes a tool in reshaping social attitudes regarding human sexuality. Using the military to advance a liberal social agenda will only do harm to the military’s ability to fulfill its mission . . . Members of Congress are still waiting for answers to their questions about how opening the military to homosexuality will affect issues of religious freedom, conscience exemptions and same-sex partner benefits.”