Pentagon now accepts openly gay service members
Since 1993, the military had discharged over 13,000 soldiers for violation of the ban.
Washington, D.C., United States
September 20, 2011 11:41 am EDT
Social Issue, Minority Group, Gays And Lesbians, Politics, Defense, Armed Forces
The Pentagon opened its door to openly gay candidates on Tuesday, a day after the Defense Department announced the military is ready to end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy it put in place in 1993.
In preparation for the new policy, the military had 97 percent of its troops undergo training on the new law signed by President Barack Obama in December.
Army Maj. Gen. Gary S. Patton, chief of staff for the Pentagon’s repeal implementation team, said in a statement, “Statements about sexual orientation will no longer be a bar to enlisting in the military or a cause for dismissal.”
Since 1993, the military has discharged more than 13,000 soldiers for violation of the ban.
With the law now in effect, all pending investigations, discharges and other proceedings on gay soldiers under the old law are stopped. All branches of the U.S. military spent months updating their regulations to prepare for the law’s implementation on Tuesday.
Despite the openness to accept gays and lesbians, the military will still maintain current standards of personal conduct such as public displays of affection.
Enlistees who were previously rejected because of their admission to being gay and soldiers who were discharged for the same reason would be allowed to enlist again if they are eligible to join the U.S. military.
Gay military men are now expected to publicly announce their sexual preference because of the protection provided by the new law. Some may even marry their gay partners, as what a Navy lieutenant and his civilian partner did on midnight Monday in Vermont.
The Pentagon promised to have zero tolerance for anti-gay behavior as well as for other forms of religious, racial and gender discrimination.
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