Former Officer Says UK Policy on Gays in Military a Non-Issue

June 7, 2010

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Former servicemen march for gay rights in Seattle, 2009, photo by Fearless Zombie on Flickr

In 1993, President Clinton and Congress compromised on the issue of gays in the military with the policy known as “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.” Under the policy, people who do not identify as heterosexual may continue military service as long as they conceal their sexuality.

Sixteen years later, more than 13,000 gay men and women have been expelled from our Armed Forces. Now, as Congress moves toward a ban of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” we'll look at how two other countries approach the issue of gays in the military. It's part of our occasional series Here / There.

A decade ago, Britain reversed its ban of gays in the military. The decision was made in response to a ruling made by the European Court of Human Rights, which said the U.K.'s policy was discriminatory. 

Amyas Godfrey is an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in England and has served several tours of duty for the British Armed Forces.