2011’s Smartest Moments in Pop Culture


7
Government Repeals 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
The 18-year "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy expired in September 2011.
The 18-year "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy expired in September 2011.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

On Sept. 18, 2011, the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy banning gay soldiers from serving openly officially expired. Originally signed into law by President Clinton nearly 18 prior, President Obama signed the Congressional legislation putting an end to it. Although a majority of Americans supported ending DADT, some politicians and military leaders remained critical of the landmark decision [source: Halloran]. The exact number of gays in the American armed forces is unknown, but research from UCLA estimated that DADT affected about 66,000 personnel [source: O'Keefe].

However, in late November 2011, U.S. Marine Gen. James F. Amos told the Associated Press that the repeal had gone smoothly within his branch [source: Mak and Weinger]. His comments were especially significant since the general had previously testified before Congress in opposition to dissolving DADT. Moreover, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which advocates on behalf of gay military members, hadn't received any reports of post-repeal harassment from soldiers who had decided to come out [source: Mak and Weinger].

More to Explore