Today marks the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a discriminatory policy that barred thousands of capable men and women from military service because of their sexual orientation.
For nearly two decades,”Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” threatened American values of liberty and equality for all, and prevented the Armed Forces from including the best and brightest service members.
The U.S. Military discharged more than 13,000 troops — who were qualified and dedicated to serving our country — because of the law.
Senate Democrats led the way on repealing DADT, with Senators Harry Reid, Joe Lieberman, Carl Levin, Mark Udall and Kristen Gillibrand helping to push through legislation ending the policy.
Marking the importance of the law’s end, Nevada Senator Harry Reid told his Senate colleagues this morning: “There is no place for intolerance in this great nation, nor in the Armed Forces tasked with protecting it.”
He continued: “I am glad to say that today our military policies and our national values are at last in line.”
From today forward, no qualified man or woman willing to fight for a nation founded on the principles of tolerance and equality “will ever again be denied the right to do so,” Reid said.
The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” continues a pattern of our military reflecting American social progress. Equality of race, gender, religion and now sexual orientation have been integrated into the Armed Forces to show that America is a country where all men and women are treated fairly under the law.