The policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) was enacted under President Bill Clinton in 1993 to allow all citizens of sound mind and capable body equal opportunity to serve in the military. DADT reversed earlier policy of not permitting persons of homosexual orientation to honorably serve and defend their country and the citizens thereof. While the Don’t Ask (military or appointed officials are not to ask about or require members to reveal their sexual orientation), Don’t Tell (pronouncement of homosexual orientation or openly engaging in homosexual activities is prohibited) aspect is well known, there are other components to the policy as well that are meant to protect sexual minorities. Those components included “Don’t Pursue” (obvious statements or actions made or done by the individual are required to launch an investigation) and “Don’t Harass” (to ensure that the military will not allow harassment or violence against service members for any reason).
Congress is currently debating the repeal of the policy which would allow gays to serve openly and without need to conceal their sexual orientation. Arguments pro and con all seem to have validity. The Don’t Harass portion of the policy would continue as currently written because it applies to all personnel. The Don’t Pursue aspect would no longer be necessary if the repeal is passed.
Gays, like heterosexuals should have the right to serve without the fear of being harassed or discharged for their orientation. Allowing this bill to be repealed, however, could be the first step to military personnel participating in Gay Pride parades and other activism on or near military bases both stateside and abroad. It might also lead to unique minority sub-set privileges and special funding. Currently that cannot happen due to DADT.
We can only wait for the final voting of congress and hope that there are no “unintended consequences” to their decision.