"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Law
For hundreds of years, homosexuality was not welcomed in America's armed forces. It wasn't until the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy was enacted on December 21, 1993 under the Clinton administration that gays and lesbians were allowed to enter the armed forces. The "don't ask don't tell policy" in the military may have allowed closet gays and lesbians within the armed forces; however, it mandated the discharge of openly gay, lesbian or bisexual service members when their orientation was revealed, unless it was believed to have been disclosed for the purpose of being discharged.
The don't ask part of the law prohibited officers from inquiring further into the orientation of a member without having sufficiently observed reason to do so. An addition to the policy was proposed: "don't ask, don't tell, don't pursue, don't harass" when homosexuals were not given any protection like others facing discrimination. Although the DADT policy may have been a stride forward for the gay and lesbian community, it wasn't flawless. It wasn't until almost two decades later that further rights were gained.
Repeal of DADT
In 2010, a repeal to the policy was sought through a congress bill, under the conditions that the President, Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff could agree the repeal would not harm the military's position of readiness. On July 22, 2011, President Obama, Defense Secretary Panetta, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen agreed that the U.S. military was finally ready for the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) repeal, which went into effect on September 20, 2011.
This sweeping change in U.S. Law was welcomed by thousands of U.S. service members that had been hiding their sexual orientation from their fellow service men and women, their colleagues and their friends for years. Under the DADT policy, if they came out openly about their sexual orientation, they would have faced discharge and an end to their military career. Through these changes many individuals have been able to pursue their dream or protect their country like they would have been unable to do before.
Help for Those Already Discharged
For many service members, being in the military is a large part of their life, not to mention their identity. During DADT's reign from December 21, 1993 to September 20, 2011, more than 18,000 service members were administratively discharged for being homosexual. There will be a number of individuals who will be seeking to both amend their discharge records and reenlist in the armed forces. In order for those men and women to apply for re-entry, they will have to apply to the Discharge Review Board or apply to the Board for Corrections of Military Records (BCMR). If you have already been discharged, you need a military defense attorney who will be able to help you navigate through the legal waters of amending your records and/or reenlisting.
Consult with a Military Defense Lawyer
For many of the individuals affected by DADT, their military involvement was very important to them. Whether you desire to amend your discharge records or if you wish to re-enlist, military defense attorney Meagan F. Temple could assist you either way. As a former JAG officer in the Air Force, she has the technical skills and knowledge needed to defend military personnel. Furthermore, as a former prosecutor, she has inside knowledge of how the opposition thinks and operates, which she uses to her client's advantage at all times. The attorney can help you prepare your case in front of the Army Discharge Review Board, the Air Force Discharge Review Board, the Naval Discharge Review Board or the Coast Guard Discharge Review Board.
Your reputation and your career are important; you deserve the highest level of representation from an attorney who is compassionate about your cause.