Military Policy Analysis and Resource Paper
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was in effect from 1993 until 2011 and was the official policy that prohibited the United States Military from harassing or discriminating against closeted gay, lesbian and bisexual service members but, at the same time, barred openly gay, lesbian and bisexual service members from serving at all. As such, it bred, in the U.S. Military, an environment of secrecy designed to keep individuals in the closet. Now that the policy has been repealed, there is an expectation, among some, that everyone is free to, and should, come out. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has been a policy enforced in the United States Armed Forces, however the attitudes of this policy in some aspects has transferred to the business sector. Some American citizens believe the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is effective, yet others find it problematic. The policy has affected not only homosexuals wanting to serve our country, but also those attempting to find employment. Homosexuals serving in the military have been a long debated topic throughout U.S. history. As early as Revolutionary War times, the military did not exclude homosexuals from serving our country. However, they did consider sodomy a criminal offense. According to the “Article 125 of Uniform Code of Military Justice prohibits all service members from engaging in sodomy. Service members found violating this article can be court-martialed and imprisoned if found guilty.” (Alexander, 2007) Sodomy is defined as, “anal or oral copulation with a member of the same or opposite sex” (Nicholas, 2006). The military’s main focus was on homosexual behavior, but eventually shifted to eliminate homosexual personnel all together. During this time, psychiatric evaluations were administered to prevent homosexuals from entering the military due to an alleged “medical” reason. Up to now, the White House has focused on an aggressive effort to socialize our economy through the bailout of the auto industry, institution of the cap-and-trade system, various stimulus and bailout programs, and a takeover of the healthcare sector (Bedey, 2010). Although these topics are still relevant, recently the motion to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” has become one of the most talked about subjects. Before we get into debate, one must know the basic principles of the policy and its history of origin. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” (DADT) is a ban on lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders serving in the military. DADT is the only law in the United States that authorizes the discharging of an American for being gay. There are no other federal, state, or local laws like it. DADT is the only law that punishes lesbians, gays bisexuals and transgenders for coming out. Many Americans view DADT as a simple agreement with discretion as the key to job security. While this is true to some extent, in the eyes of a homosexual service member, it may not be so simple. An honest statement of one’s sexual orientation to anyone, anywhere, at anytime will lead to being fired. (Service Members Legal Defense Network, 2010) The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue, Don’t Harass” policy affects many people in the Armed Forces. Active Duty, Reserves, National Guard, Individual Ready Reserves, Service Academies, and Reserve Officer Training Corps are all affect by this policy. Each of these groups can be investigated and discharged if they have engaged in homosexual conduct in military or civilian attire or settings. Female service members face more anti-gay comments and accusations than male service members. Regardless of their sexual orientation women are often referred to as being a lesbian in the military. “Women have been consistently discharged at a rate nearly twice their presence in the services since the implementation of the law.” (Alexander, 2007) DADT was the result of a failed effort...
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