Gays in the Military

September 18, 2009 • Volume 19, Issue 32
Should the ban on homosexuals be lifted?
By Peter Katel


Army National Guard Lt. Daniel Choi on gays in the military. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Army National Guard Lt. Daniel Choi symbolizes the debate over whether gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military. The West Point graduate and Arabic language specialist faces discharge because he revealed he is gay, in violation of the “don't ask, don't tell” policy. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Political passions over the ban on open homosexuality in the U.S. military are stirring again. A new legislative fight on the issue may be headed for House and Senate hearings as early as this fall. Iraq War veteran Rep. Patrick J. Murphy, D-Pa., is proposing legislation to end sexuality-based discrimination in the armed forces. Under the “don't ask, don't tell” policy, gays and lesbians are barred from military service unless their orientation stays hidden. The policy was designed as a compromise to a 1993 call to lift the ban. Supporters of the policy say dropping it would degrade the “unit cohesion” that is critical to battlefield effectiveness. But Murphy and some other recent vets argue that most of today's warriors don't care about their comrades' sexuality. In another element of political drama, some gay political activists are questioning President Barack Obama's level of commitment to pushing for repeal, as he has promised to do.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Individuals
Mar. 15, 2013  Gay Marriage
Mar. 01, 2011  Gay Rights
Sep. 18, 2009  Gays in the Military Updated
Sep. 26, 2008  Gay Marriage Showdowns Updated
May 05, 2006  Transgender Issues
Oct. 01, 2004  Gays on Campus
Sep. 05, 2003  Gay Marriage
Apr. 14, 2000  Gay-Rights Update
Mar. 05, 1993  Gay Rights
Sep. 04, 1992  Domestic Partners
Jun. 29, 1984  Gay Politics
Mar. 08, 1974  Homosexual Legal Rights
Jul. 10, 1963  Homosexuality: Morals and Security
Gays and Lesbians in the Military