Gays in the Military
“The U.S. military did not explicitly ban homosexuals from serving as soldiers until 1941. In that year, the Army and Navy altered their selection guidelines to classify homosexuality as a “disqualifying condition” for anyone seeking military service. In 1949, the Department of Defense (DOD) formalized the ban on gays in all branches of the military. In addition to being banned from service, any homosexuals discovered among those already within U.S. military ranks were immediately discharged, and were denied many basic benefits available to other veterans, such as the educational opportunities offered by the G.I. Bill.” -Gale Opposing Viewpoints, Gays in the Military
When President Obama repealed the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” military policy in 2010, he was greeted by praise from the LGBT community and its allies as well as disdain from people and organizations that oppose homosexual people from serving in the military. Arguments have been made for both sides of this issue.
On the pro-gay military personnel side, some of the arguments include a 2004 study of Israeli soldiers that concluded that the 1993 lifting of a ban on gays serving openly in the military had no negative effects on that nation’s military effectiveness.
However, on the opposing side, there is one argument that no one can truly deny: some intolerant soldiers are distracted by gays serving openly in the military.
When Bill Clinton issued the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, it was found to be at least somewhat of a happy medium between the two opposing sides. But, in 2009 while in the midst of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, military leaders called for the repeal of DODT in hopes that it would increase military enrollment with new recruits. Their calls were answered in December of 2010 when President Barack Obama repealed “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”