Friday, July 22, 2011
17 years and 14,500 soldiers later, the viciously homophobic prohibition on gay and lesbian Americans serving in the military known as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ ends today.
Newly minted Pentagon chief Leon Panetta will sign the certification today, ending the 17-year-old ban and marking a new era of U.S. military policy and equality.
Panetta’s decision, which was expected, comes two weeks after the chiefs of the military services said ending the ban would not affect military readiness and ending the ban fulfills pledge President Barack Obama made in the 2008 campaign.
The repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was signed into law last December.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was adopted during the Clinton administration. The policy has resulted in the separation of more than 14,500 men and women from the military.
The ban has been the target of numerous legal challenges, including a Federal court ruling in July that ordered the government to stop enforcing the ban.