Sexual Orientation And The United States Military
The United States military excluded gay men and lesbians from service from its origins until 2011. The military consistently held the official view that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people are unfit for military service. Policy against LGBT service personnel evolved independently in the various branches of the military before being unified and codified in military policy. In 1993, the United States Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed a law instituting the policy commonly referred to as "Don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) which allowed gay, lesbian, and bisexual people to serve as long as they did not reveal their sexual orientation. Although there were isolated instances in which service personnel met with limited success through lawsuits, efforts to end the ban either legislatively or through the courts proved unsuccessful.
In 2010, two federal courts ruled the ban on openly gay service personnel unconstitutional and on July 6, 2011, a federal appeals court suspended the DADT policy. In December 2010, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 and under its provisions restrictions on service by gay, lesbian, and bisexual personnel ended as of September 20, 2011.
While restrictions on sexual orientation have been lifted, restrictions on gender identity remain in place due to Department of Defense regulations; transgender Americans thus continue to be barred from military service.
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