An estimated 60,000 men and women in our armed forces have been directly affected by the repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. But that may be just the beginning.
By the time that Congress finally took action to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, they were playing catch-up with public opinion across America, says Steve Estes, an SSU history professor who has studied and written about gays in the military
The percentage of gays and lesbians in the armed forces is generally thought to match their representation in the population at large, but Estes says that does not mean they are evenly distributed between the four service branches.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell was a legacy of the early years of the Clinton administration. But Estes observes that even the president soon came to see it as one of his biggest failures.
President Truman famously integrated the American military with the stroke of a pen, signing an executive order in 1948. That, says Estes, was a far bolder and more sweeping change than the repeal of discrimination against homosexuals last week.