(Note: we’d meant to run this on Tuesday, when DADT was officially nixed, but server issues got in the way. Sorry for the delay.)
For such a hotly debated subject, one that often escalated to raised voices and raw emotion, the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and acceptance of openly gay men and women into the U.S. military has seemed remarkably quiet and calm. The result is like sitting at a dinner table with feuding family members who, out of nowhere, suddenly start chatting amicably about the weather. There is an undeniable sense of relief, mixed with a twinge of lingering tension.
Since 1994, when the ‘Don’t Ask’ policy was implemented during the Clinton Administration, thousands of military personnel have been forced to leave the service. Late last year, Congress finally agreed to repeal the law and President Obama approved the measure shortly before Christmas break. The Pentagon has taken months to train personnel as to what the change means, and any impact it might have on daily military life.
“The force is prepared,” said Pentagon spokesman George Little, in comments published by Bloomberg news. “The vast majority of the force has been trained on issues related to repeal and we’re ready to move forward.” Also hoping to move forward are some of the servicemen and women who were previously discharged for being gay, yet now hope to return to the military.