In The Past: Obama signs the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal

On December 22 in 2010, president Barack Obama signed a repeal of the US law “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. The law had been in affect since 1993 and basically forced homosexuals in the army to… shut up and be happy. When the law was abolished, it meant that gay people could join and stay in the army without hiding anything.

In 2010, president Barack Obama signed a repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"-act that denied openly gay people to serve in the US army.

In 2010, president Barack Obama signed a repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”-act that denied openly gay people to serve in the US army.

When the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”-act was first enforced it was actually a step forward, even though it was a compromise. Prior to 1993, gay men and women were completely ruled out from the army and would immediately be refused at the sign-ins. With the law, it meant that they were allowed in, as long as their sexuality remained unknown. You couldn’t tell, and your superiors weren’t allowed to ask. However, as many as 13 650 were thrown out of the army under the act because they broke the silence agreement and were open about their preferences.

The change that Obama made in 2010 meant that homosexuals no longer had to hide like that – anyone could join! However, the US army still has some way to go: it doesn’t recognize gay marriages and gay married couples don’t have the same rights as heterosexual couples. For example, two gay soliders who are married may be deployed to different parts of the world, separating them from one another. This is not true for straight couples.

About Johan Dahlberg

Former journalist, avid traveler and hobby photographer. I run a podcast — The TLI Podcast, check it out on Itunes — and write on "The Longform Interviewer", www.thelongforminterviewer.com. View all posts by Johan Dahlberg

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