Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Obama Repeals "Dont Ask Dont Tell" - What Does it Mean?

Since the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy" came into effect in 1993, more than 14,000 service men and women have lost their jobs (i.e. been discharged from the military) when their sexual orientation became known.

Once the repeal takes full force and effect, gays in the military have a right to remain employed in the military even if they are openly homosexual.  It remains to be seen what effect the passage of this Bill will have upon those previously discharged from service when their preferences became known, or what will happen to those presently facing expulsion proceedings for the same reason.

Usually, Bills such as these expressly state whether they are retroactive. If they are, then those previously "punished" under a prior law are effectively "pardoned" and entitled to reinstatement if their punishment occurred subsequent to the "effective date" of the Bill.  If  the Bill is not retroactive, then there is nothing that can be done for those previously punished under the prior law. 

For those presently facing an expulsion hearing, it could be a very complicated issue.  On the one hand they "violated" the law that was in place at the time of their "misconduct."  On the other hand, they would have to be found "guilty" for something that was not illegal at the time of their sentencing.  Complicated indeed.

If you like, click on this article for a further discussion of the issues relating to the effect of the Bill on former military personnel, and those presently facing expulsion.

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