WASHINGTON— President Obama signed a “landmark” law Wednesday reversing the ban on gay men and women serving openly in the military.
The new law ended the 17-year-old “don't ask, don't tell” policy that forced gays to hide their sexual orientation or face dismissal from the military. The Associated Press reported that more than 13,500 people were discharged under the policy.
Obama and Pentagon officials still have to fix the old policy before lifting it. The new law will also have to assure lawmakers that the new law won't interfere with combat or traning. Opponents of the repeal had said that the new law could harm unity harmony, could convince some to leave the military services, or not sign up at all.
Questions about the new policy, including how the military will educate troops and if sexual orientation should interfere with making barracks assignments are still being handled by the Pentagon.
The “don't ask, don't tell” policy was written 17-years ago in 1993 when then President Bill Clinton tried to repeal a then existing gay ban policy and was opposed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and members of Congress.