But as being openly homosexual became more accepted in the United States, this caused problems with the more religiously inclined troops, and potential recruits from more religious parts of the country. As a result, in the 1990s, the "don't ask, don't tell" policy was adopted, which basically legalized homosexuals in the military, as long as they were discreet. But anyone who admitted to being homosexual, was promptly discharged. This, however, came to be an easy out for troops who just wanted out of the military, but could not just walk, because enlistments are legal contracts. As a result, telling your commander you are gay, and being the least bit convincing, became a ploy to get reluctant troops out, with a good conduct or general discharge (both of which allow you to keep veterans benefits). No one knows exactly how many homosexuals there are in the military. There are believed to be fewer than 50,000 on active duty, with perhaps the same number in the reserves.
Many European countries have no restrictions at all on homosexuals in the military, but that is mainly because most Europeans are not into religion, and are into moral relativism and multi-culturalism. Worldwide, most nations prohibit homosexuals in the military, although few make much of an effort to enforce such rules.
In 2005, 726 American military personnel were discharged for homosexual activity. That's up from 688 in 2004. There have always been homosexuals serving in the military. This never caused many problems. There were some cases of homosexual NCOs or officers taking sexual advantage of younger troops, but this was rare, and quietly taken care of (via court martials, transfers, discharges or early retirements) whenever it became known.