Repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Comes With A Catch

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The official repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” means that the military will see major changes as openly gay members will be allowed to serve. Proponents of the repeal say, however, there is a catch.

The repeal does not include a provision that would add sexual orientation to the military’s non-discrimination policy. Those serving in the military who identify as gay do not have the ability to take legal action if they are discriminated against.

Ohio University LGBT Center director Mickey Hart says he believes that compromises had to be made to pass the repeal. “It would be wonderful if we were talking about how this is great, fair, and equitable across the board, but in order to get it passed, there was a provision removed that would have added sexual orientation to the non-discrimination policies of the military,” Hart said.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” was hailed as a revolutionary piece of legislature when President Bill Clinton signed it into effect in 1993. The law protected closeted men and women from discrimination and harassment, but openly gay individuals were prohibited from enlisting. The law also dishonorably discharged anyone who disclosed they were gay while serving.