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Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Don't Ask, Don't Tell - DADT Lawyer

On Sept. 20, 2011, the military repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), the policy that had prohibited gays and lesbians from openly serving in the armed forces. The repeal followed President Barack Obama’s Dec. 22, 2010 signing of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010, which reversed the 1993 DADT law (10 U.S.C. §654).

The repeal means gays and lesbians can no longer be separated from the military solely because of their sexual orientation. The military can also no longer prevent someone from serving or being admitted into the armed forces because of their statements about sexual orientation or lawful homosexual conduct.

The repeal has opened many doors for many of the estimated 14,000 former service members who were separated under DADT since 1993. Depending on the circumstances of their separations under DADT, some gay or lesbian former service members may be eligible to do the following:

  • Recommence their careers the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard;
  • Complete the service time necessary to qualify for retirement benefits;
  • Upgrade their discharge;
  • Erase from their military record the stigma associated with a separation under DADT; or
  • Become eligible for certain veteran benefits, such as those associated with the Montgomery G.I. Bill.

Right now, any attempts to change the military records of former service members separated under DADT are cases of first impression, which means there is no precedent. Gay and lesbian former service members are blazing their own trail. Anyone who is about to take on this challenge need to beware and be prepared. Don’t just find a lawyer and expect everything will be taken care of. Former service members need someone who knows military law inside and out. A lawyer with little to no knowledge of military law will get lost in this post-DADT environment.

The military law attorneys at Tully Rinckey PLLC have a combined 50 years of experience in the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps, and our founding partner is the only known civilian attorney to currently serve in the Army Reserves as a lieutenant colonel.

Schedule a meeting with one of Tully Rinckey PLLC’s military law attorneys today by calling 703-525-4700 or e-mailing

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