For those of you who haven’t heard, the vote on repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is rapidly approaching.   Here’s a quick history and policy update:

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was implemented during the Clinton years as a political compromise to allowing LGBT Americans to serve in the Armed Forces.  Previous to the policy, service member applicants had to openly declare their sexuality in order to joined the armed forces (and obviously, gays were excluded from eligibility).  Clinton ran a campaign promising full acceptance of gays and lesbians in the military but recieved major political backlash during his term in office and a promise from Congress that such an executive order would never go through.

Instead, Clinton offered an alternative- to allow gay servicemen and women to participate in the military as long as they did not publicly disclose their LGBT identity.  The US military is the only branch of government that maintains a discriminatory policy against gays and lesbians.

Mercifully, repealing the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy is not a one-shot decision.  The amendment is attached as a rider to the Military Spending Budget for this year, so if the budget passes, so does the amendment.  However, there is the potential for either chamber of congress to call a vote to remove the amendment with the clause about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell- which, if it passes, another vote would then be taken to approve the budget without the amendment.  If the DADT amendment (or any amendment, for that matter) is stricken from the bill, however, the entire budget must be returned to the other chamber of congress for re-approval.

So LGBT supporters have two things to keep them positive- one, repealing the policy is an amendment, rather than a seperate bill, which is attached to a crucial buget.  This is wonderful because budgets are often heavily compromised-upon documents, and removing an amendment could upset the political balance which allows it to pass.  Thus, it is dangerous politically to suggest removing an amendment for  fear of bringing attention to your opposition’s less-desirable components of the bill.  Two, because the bill is so important to get through efficiently (it does, after all, control the spending for the entire US military), Congress will not want to repeat the time-consuming process of reconciling two different versions of the budget bill.

If you’d like a little more information, CNN did a decent cover on the upcoming vote and the political controversy surrounding it:

Your thoughts?  Any potential military recruits out there?  How will this effect your future?  If the bill (god forbid), does not pass, would you still offer your services to the US military?

Also, this offers a great segway for my next post, which will be about living closeted.  Give me feedback, dahlings.