Gay Marriage in the Military
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As of September 30th, 2011, gay marriage in the U.S. military is legal. The status of gay marriage in the military is a dramatic departure from longstanding military policy directing the conduct of gay soldiers. For years, homosexual soldiers were required to hide their sexuality under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy. DADT was established during President Clinton's first term. The policy allowed homosexuals in the military to serve, but only if they remained silent about their sexuality.
However, the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was repealed by an agreement made between the following:
- President Barack Obama
- Mike Mullen
- The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
- Leon Panetta, the Secretary of Defense
The formal repeal of DADT commenced on September 20, 2011. A few days later, the Pentagon issued a statement explaining that military chaplains would be permitted to conduct gay marriage for soldiers on military bases.
Gay marriage in the military cannot occur in every state, however. While some states have moved to legalize homosexual marriages, other states continue to outlaw the practice by limiting marriage to only one man and one woman. Gay marriage in the military is only legal on military bases that are located in those states that already legalize homosexual marriage. The expansion of gay marriage in the military will coincide with future moves by states to legalize homosexual marriage.