Military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy is history
Two men whose lives have been impacted by Don't Ask, Don't Tell share their experiences under the policy, and what they hope for the future.
Story from The Takeaway. Listen to audio for full report.
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the discriminatory 1993 law that allowed gays and lesbians to serve in the military so long as they kept their sexual orientation a secret, is history. After months of preparation by the Pentagon, DADT was officially repealed on Tuesday at midnight.
President Obama signed the repeal in December 2010. The Pentagon said that 97 percent of the military has undergone training for accepting the law. The military has been accepting applications from openly gay people for weeks, and investigations into the sexual orientations of current military personal have been halted.
Lt. Cmdr. Zachery Matthews, an MH65 helicopter pilot with the coast guard who began his career in 1996, says he's been living "two separate lives" under DADT.
"It's been very frustrating, and there have been a lot of challenges that I've had to face, but I think as of today, that will no longer be the case," Matthews told The Takeaway, sharing his situation publicly for the first time.
"This is a good day for all of us," Matthews added.
Jase Daniels, discharged from the Navy four years ago under DADT, will begin serving again next week. "It's a victory for so many people who have been serving silently for so many years," he said.
Matthews believes gay servicemen and women now have the opportunity to change mindsets in military. "I think it's important that gays and lesbians in the military stand up and be role models and be examples ... to reinforce positive mindsets and dispel any negative ones," he said.
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