INDEPENDENT LENS ASK NOT Trailer PBS @ Yahoo! Video
The Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy has been polarizing since it was implemented in 1993 the Clinton Administration. But today the law, which prohibits gay and lesbian service members from revealing their sexual orientation, is increasingly drawing criticism.
In 2008, over 100 retired generals and admirals signed a statement calling for an end to the policy, putting to rest a widely held misconception that it was unanimously supported by top military officials. While on the campaign trail in 2008, Barack Obama pledged to repeal the controversial policy. Since taking office, however, the president has made it clear he will approach the issue tactfully by working with military leaders before making a legislative push in Congress.
Proponents of the legislation point to the original language of the law, which states that, “The presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.”
The most recent event in the life of this controversial law occurred on June 8, when the Supreme Court decided against reevaluating the constitutionality of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The court rejected an appeal from former Army Capt. James Pietrangelo II, who was dismissed under the rules of the policy and subsequently filed a lawsuit against the government.
That’s part of the history of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”—it’s the part that’s sterile and abstract, existing mostly in legal documents and politicians’ mouths. Now, Independent Lens will explore the impact this keep-it-quiet strategy is having on lives of individual service members in the new documentary “Ask Not,” airing on MPT Tuesday, June 16 at 10 p.m. and MPT2 Wednesday, June 17 at 10 p.m.
What do you think the military’s attitude toward gay and lesbian service members should be?