“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” U.S. Military Policy Ends

Gay and lesbian members of the U.S. military can now be open about their sexual orientation without fear of getting discharged from the service.

The Pentagon will officially shelve on Tuesday the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that prohibits gay and lesbian military personnel from revealing their sexual orientation. The policy also prohibited officials from asking their subordinates about their sexual orientation. The policy, which was approved under the administration of then-President Bill Clinton, was repealed last year.

Pentagon press secretary George Little said on Monday that the U.S. military had been preparing for the repeal, adding that around 97 percent of American troops have been briefed and trained about the new policy that will take effect beginning today, September 20, 2011. Under the new policy, military personnel who were fired under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law can apply for re-enlistment, the BBC said in a report. Investigations originating from the repealed policy will also be dropped.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, under whose leadership the Congressional repeal was carried out, said the move will “finally close the door on a fundamental unfairness for gays and lesbians.”