“Do not ask, do not tell” is the common name of an American government policy concerning gays in the military. The policy was applied to homosexuals in the U.S. armed forces, who were not to tell about their sexual orientation (“do not tell”), as well as their superiors were not to ask their subordinates about their orientation (“do not ask”) unless the suspicion of homosexual practices existed. President Bill Clinton introduced the policy in 1993 and it was a compromise, which allowed to certain extent gays to serve in the military (as long as they did not perform homosexual acts or openly talked about their homosexual orientation), while a version of the previous ban on homosexuals serving remained.
Homosexuals who violated the policy were dismissed from the service and open homosexuals were not allowed to enlist. Between 1994 and 2010, 13,650 people were dismissed under the policy provisions.
Clinton made the policy’s introduction a departure from his election promise that everyone would get to serve openly in the armed forces regardless of their sexual orientation after extensive criticism from conservative quarters. A voice that criticized Clinton’s compromise approach was the conservative Republican ex-senator Barry Goldwater on the ground “You do not have to be straight to die for your country, just shoot straight.” Goldwater was quoted in the Senate in 2010 by his former colleague Harry Reid before the vote on the policy’s repeal.
On 15 December 2010, the House of Representatives adopted by 250 votes against 175, a bill to abolish the policy “Do not ask, do not tell,” as discriminatory against homosexuals who were engaged in the military. The U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration was clearly in favor of the repeal, as were the polls in the army. On December 18, the Senate voted for the final abolition of the Clinton’s law (1993) by 65 votes against 31. Even Republican senators (8) voted for its abolition. “As the president long said, ending the policy “Do not ask, do not tell” would allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military and strengthen our national security while upholding the fundamental principle of equality on which our country was founded,” was the official statement of the White House after the Senate vote.
College students, who have decided to use the topic for their research proposal, have to thoroughly study the “Do not ask, do not tell” policy to clearly understand all the different aspects and factors, which could caused the adoption of the directive and those which influenced and caused its abolition.
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