Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Previously, under 10 U.S.C. § 654, homosexual members of the armed forces would be separated from the armed forces if that member engaged in homosexual acts as defined by the statute, stated that they were homosexual, or attempted to marry another person of the same biological sex. On paper, this banned homosexuals from serving in the military. However, in practice, from the Clinton administration up to 2010, the military had a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy whereby individuals were not required to disclose their sexuality and military officials would not investigate. This effectively nullified 10 U.S.C. § 654. It was not until the Obama administration in 2010 when Congress passed, and President Obama signed Pub. L. 111–321, which repealed 10 U.S.C. § 654. Thus, homosexuals may now freely serve in the armed forces.

[Last updated in December of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]