Thursday, December 21, 2017

Today in 1993: DOD Issues Don't Ask, Don't Tell Directive

"Don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) was the official United States policy on military service by gays, bisexuals, and lesbians, instituted by President Bill Clinton's Administration.  It was based on Department of Defense (DOD) Directive 1304.26, issued today, December 21, in 1993, which took effect on February 28, 1994, and lasted until September 20, 2011. 

The policy prohibited military personnel from discriminating against or harassing closeted homosexual or bisexual service members or applicants, while barring openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual persons from military service.

The policy still prohibited people who "demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" from serving in the armed forces of the United States.

The policy was introduced as a compromise measure by President Clinton who campaigned in 1992 on the promise to allow all citizens to serve in the military regardless of sexual orientation. 

The act prohibited any homosexual or bisexual person from disclosing his or her sexual orientation or from speaking about any homosexual relationships while serving in the United States armed forces.
The "don't ask" part of the DADT policy specified that superiors should not initiate investigation of a service member's orientation without witnessing disallowed behaviors, though credible evidence of homosexual behavior could be used to initiate an investigation. Unauthorized investigations and harassment of suspected servicemen and women led to an expansion of the policy to "don't ask, don't tell, don't pursue, don't harass."

After the policy was introduced, the military discharged more than 13,000 troops from the military under DADT. The number of discharges per fiscal year under DADT dropped sharply after the September 11 attacks and remained comparatively low through to the repeal. However, discharges still exceeded 600 every year until 2009.

Legislation to repeal DADT was enacted in December 2010. A July 6, 2011, ruling from a federal appeals court barred further enforcement of the U.S. military's ban on openly gay service members. President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Pancetta, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen sent that certification to Congress on July 22, 2011, which set the end of DADT to September 20, 2011.

President Barack Obama signs the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010.

No comments: