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Past Informing Present: Parallels Between Racial Integration in the Armed Forces and Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell

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Technical Report

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Air War College Air University Maxwell AFB United States

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Many Americans today view the issue of allowing homosexuals to serve openly in uniform as a contemporary civil rights issue. Similar to the issues of race and gender more traditionally associated with civil rights, the treatment of homosexuals in the military has been a lingering question, particularly since the 1993 decision by President Clinton to implement the Policy on Homosexual Conduct in the Armed Forces, commonly referred to as Dont Ask, Dont Tell DADT. While DADT tacitly acknowledged that homosexual members may serve, homosexual conduct was deemed incompatible with military service and members continued to be discharged based on homosexual conduct or statements acknowledging their homosexuality.1 As a result, homosexual members felt they were not treated on par with their heterosexual colleagues and considered this a denial of their civil rights and forced them to compromise their integrity.

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