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Gays in the Military: Current Situation and Problems

New Laws pertaining to Homosexuals in the U.S. military service were put in place in 1993, This was to reflect on negotiations in the policy. It was referred to as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and it did hold that an individual in the armed forces who did reveal the intentions of engaging in Gay acts would create an undesired risk to the high set of standards based on morals. Hence the army personnel was not required to discuss their homosexuality nor allowed to converse with others including Service members and this issue brought about controversy in the political aspect. According to President Clinton on July 19, 1993, he did announce that the new policy consisted of essential elements concerning the military personnel who were homosexuals in that an army officer will only be judged based on their conduct and not on the idea of sexual orientation.

Also on the issue of enlistment procedure would continue to take effect without asking about their sexual orientation. In the event or case a service member does declare that he/she is homosexual they will generate a rebuttable presumption but one can be able to contest the presumption. Lastly, under the Military Justice all requirements of the Uniform Code will be enforced in a manner that will not discriminate in regard to both heterosexuals and homosexuals. Hence the policy announced by the Clinton administration largely dwelled on sexual orientation and it had problems pertaining to its practical definition thus bringing in the issue of non-behavioral manifestations.

On November 30, 1993, Congress did act in the sense that National Defense Authorization Act was signed by President Clinton which positioned the grounds for discharge that included; if one did attempt to engage or did engage, or tried to solicit another person for acts of homosexuality. Also in case one did express that he or she is a homosexual and either tried to marry or did actually marry persons of the same sex they were grounds for discharge. Furthermore, the law did state that the inquiry of new recruits about their sexuality would probably resume for it had been initially been halted based on discretion. Thus “Sexual orientations” is being attracted or having a strong preference to persons of the same sex with intentions of engaging in sexual acts (U.S. Department of Defense, 2008).

Maria Zoe Dunning was not discharged by the navy tribunal when she made it clear that she was a lesbian at a rally in January 1993, for her attorneys did argue that she was simply acknowledging her “sexual orientation” and not merely wanting to broadcast her intentions to the public of her homosexuality. Within the scrutiny of the reviewing officers, the presumption had been successfully rebutted hence it was now clear that she could engage in homosexual acts. The judgment was way consistent with the law hence it did create a way where the homosexuals make it public of the status of their sexuality without being discharged. As a result of the attempts to implement the statute, sexual orientation has only resulted in more confusion and ambiguity than the desired effect (President’s News Conference, 2009).

The reason why personnel from the military did make voluntary statements as in regards to their status did come out a this led to speculation that some service men did this in order to terminate their employment from the military because prior to 1993 compromise on homosexuality was on the decline but since the later the number has been steadily increasing. The result of this is because of the many changes instituted in the Clintons administration. As a result the advocacy groups have claimed that invasive and discharging of the gay in the high ranks has increased tremendously resulting to harassment. According to the activist the general number of discharges has decreased due to the fact that manpower is needed for the war in Iraqi and that a majority of homosexuals were found to be linguists who came in handy from the fact that there were in a foreign nation.

Legal Issues

In 1993 it brought about the challenges in a constitutional point of view and military policies which did concern the homosexuals. Since 1986 the military has always discharged personnel found to have engaged in homosexual sodomy. This policy is founded in the famous court ruling in the Bowers-vs.-Hardwick case. This policy later came to be known as don’t ask don’t tell policy. The high court has continuously turned down cases to review this policy. The last of this case was in 1999 where the court refused to hear an appeal by former service members. Nevertheless this was complicated in the case of Lawrence v. Texas which nullified the decision that was made in the Bowers case which was unconstitutional as for the fact that under the Texas law which did outlawed sexual acts that concerned the same sex (President’s News Conference, 2009). Justice Kennedy did rule that the 14th Amendment did protect adults of their confidentiality which included gay conduct but he stated that status don’t go inconformity with one’s personal relationship or recognition in law so long as it’s at liberty for the people who are chosen without being punished as criminals.

Bowers case has crumbled because after Lawrence constitutional embankment concerning the “don’t ask, don’t tell,” where an argument did arise in that the existing military policies abridge the due the element of privacy of homosexual members. Most of the institutions of higher learning do have rules that govern or do offer the protection to homosexuals. Protection is offered against discrimination thus resulting in institutions of higher learning to ban recruiters of the military within their campuses to do away with Reserve Officer Training Corps. In the case of Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights On March 6, 2006, where an appeals court of law ruling was reversed by the Supreme Court, it was held that constitutionality under the Solomon Amendment it did which prohibit federal funding to educational institutions of higher learning denying them admission to military recruiters in order to be able to view students which was equally attributed to other employers (U.S. Department of Defense, 2008).

While much effort is being put in place in order to allow marriage of persons of the same sex, this has not affected the military. This is because homosexuals are barred from taking up in military.


President’s News Conference, in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, William J. Clinton, Book, 1993.

U.S. Department of Defense, Secretary of Defense, Memorandum for the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, Air Force,and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 2008.


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