Leadership: December 20, 1999

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President Clinton declared on 11 Dec that his "Don't Ask; Don't Tell" policy allowing gays to serve in the military was not working in the way he intended it. The policy, Clinton said, was intended to allow gays to serve, but they are still expelled whenever they are discovered. The military has interpreted the policy to mean that anyone who declares he (or she) is gay must prove that he is not actively so (which is virtually impossible) or he can be discharged. The number of gay soldiers discharged each year has increased every year since the policy was put into place. Clinton's comments came a week after his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, criticized the military's interpretation of the policy and said she preferred allowing gays to serve openly without harassment. The Pentagon said it was already working to retool the policy. The new plan is to require all troops to undergo periodic anti-harassment training and to assign investigations of possibly gay soldiers to more senior officers who might grant them the benefit of the doubt. --Stephen V Cole 

 


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