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What is "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"?

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Question: What is "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"?
Answer: Gays and lesbians have long been banned from serving in the United States military. In the early 1990s many gay and lesbian activists were trying to repeal the ban on homosexuals in the military, saying it was discriminatory and unnecessary. Conservatives were opposed to any change.

In 1993 President Clinton came up with a compromise and passed the Executive Order now commonly known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Don't Ask, Don't Tell prohibits military personnel from asking a service person if he or she is gay or lesbian. However, if a person discloses that he or she is gay, they will be discharged.

Even with Don't Ask, Don't Tell in place, every year many gays and lesbians are discharged from the military for homosexuality. Since "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" went into effect, more than 10,000 service men and women have been discharged for being gay or lesbian.

Update 9/20/11

Repealed! As of September 20, 2011 gay men and lesbians can now serve openly in the US Military. Gays and lesbians can sign up for military service and those who were discharged for being gay or lesbian can attempt to re-enlist.
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