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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ repeal a step toward ending discrimination

Americans would like to think of themselves as a people who value equality. As of Sept. 20, the country is one leap closer toward that goal.

The repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy shows that America is learning to accept differences in others and is working to eliminate discrimination in our country.

The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy

For 18 years, gays and lesbians serving in the military were forced to live a lie every day. Signed by former President Bill Clinton in 1993, the policy prohibited gays serving in the military from revealing their true sexuality. If anyone violated the rule, he or she was faced with punishment and expulsion.

The law was originally intended to protect closet soldiers from harassment but then became a policy that prevented gays from revealing themselves if they wanted to continue serving in the armed forces. More than 14,000 gay service members have been discharged since the signing of the policy.

The repeal

Now, after almost two decades, President Barack Obama finally signed the repeal on Sept. 20 that put an end to the isolation that gays previously endured while serving in the military. The military has undergone months of updating regulations and training to prepare for the change, while the Pentagon has already started accepting applications from men and women who are openly gay or bisexual.

At the signing ceremony, admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, “I want to thank all the patriots who are here today, all of them who were forced to hang up their uniforms as a result of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’—but who never stopped fighting for this country, and who rallied and who marched and fought for change.”

What this means for the U.S

Finally, America has broken down the long-awaited military barrier separating gays from other U.S citizens, granting them the full rights everyone deserves. The repeal of this law brings the country one step closer to ending discrimination in our country, whether it be based on race, sexuality, or religion.

The fact that more than three-fourths of the American population supports the repeal of DADT shows the progress of our country as a whole over the years, and we can only hope to improve from this point on.

Thousands of gay and bisexual soldiers who were forced to stay closeted before can now take pride in their identity, but the repeal of the Don’t ask, Don’t Tell policy has taken the nation closer to the ideal of equality in the country.

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