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Gays in Military

             During the 1992 presidential campaign, presidential candidate Bill Clinton stated that, if elected, he would change the defense department's policy prohibiting gay men and lesbians from serving in the armed forces. Shortly after President Clinton took office in January of 1993, an amendment was offered in the Senate to prevent the President from making any change of policy in this area. Defeated, the president announced, on July 19, a compromise with military and congressional leaders who opposed allowing homosexuals in the service. Clinton called it the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue" policy. By October, the "Don't ask, Don't tell, Don't Pursue" compromise had been diluted even more. The "Don't Pursue" clause was erased, which meant homosexuals and heterosexuals would not receive evenhanded punishment. The current policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was signed into law on November 30, 1993. Recruiters may no longer ask individuals about their sexuality, but lesbian and gay soldiers are still prohibited from disclosing it, and homosexual conduct, in or out of uniform, remains forbidden. The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" compromise is homophobia translated into law, and one of many examples of the government and society discriminating against the gay community. It is not fair for military personnel not to be able to tell or be asked about their sexuality: it is a "law" which allows them to be oppressed, harassed, and possibly lose their jobs.
             In March of 1993 the Armed Services Committee started their review of the amendment for allowing homosexuals in the military. According to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), the committee received testimony that in the unique conditions of forced intimacy and minimal privacy that characterize much of military life, the presence of persons who engage in homosexual acts, or who demonstrate desire to do so, would have an extremely negative effect on unit togetherness and combat capability.

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