From Margot Adler on National Public Radio:
“Don’t ask, don’t tell” is no more. The policy barred openly gay, lesbian or bisexual people from serving in the military.
As to what really propelled the change: changes in attitudes in the country as a whole, shifting attitudes among top military brass, gay activism, legal action and the increasing needs of a military waging several wars.
In Adler’s story, Sue Fulton, a West Pointer and former Army Captain, cut to the chase:
When we’re at war what matters is: Do you have my back? Are you supporting me down range? All of this other nonsense about who is waiting for you back home, or what the color of your skin is, or who you worship, those things don’t matter when you’re down range, when you are under fire. It comes down to do you have the character and the ability to have my back. Gays and lesbians have proven throughout this conflict that they do.
In twenty-five to fifty years, we’ll look at the last few decades of anti-gay posturing and policy in the same way we do Jim Crow-based racial segregation today.