Two years ago today, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” took effect, and gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members were free to serve openly and with integrity for the first time in American history. The anniversary should not only serve as a reminder of how far we have come in the march toward full equality in the military, but also a time to rededicate ourselves to the fight for full LGBT equality in our nation’s armed forces. Despite the repeal of DADT and the demise of the Defense of Marriage Act this past summer, LGBT service members and veterans still face significant discrimination.
Achieving LGBT equality in the armed forces is not just a matter of principle; it is also about acknowledging the fact that the military operates best when all service members are treated fairly and facing the reality that many different types of Americans serve in uniform and make sacrifices on our behalf, including those who are LGBT. Here are other major issue areas where LGBT Americans continue to face discrimination in our nation’s armed forces:
Conservatives are fighting for a “license to discriminate” against LGBT service members. By falsely asserting that religious freedom in the military is under attack, conservatives are attempting to pave the way for service members to discriminate against other troops by establishing broad exemptions for the religious views of service members. These so-called “conscious clauses” would make it nearly impossible for a commander to prevent harassment, discrimination, and intimidation against LGBT service members in his or her unit.