The United States Military has had a long struggle with the issue of Gay, Lesbian and Bi-Sexual service members. Under Harry S. Truman, the Uniform Code of Military Justice made sodomy a crime for personnel. Under Ronald Reagan, a Pentagon Directive stated that Homosexuality is incompatible with military service. In the 90's Bill Clinton fought that idea, and Don't Ask Don't Tell arrived. In December 2010, President Barack Obama signed the repeal of the ban.
At 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, September 20, 2011, it became legal for service members of all orientations to be open and honest about who they are.
Many people in Texoma are speaking out about the issue. Our Newschannel 6 facebook page lit up with comments. "It is about time. Being a victim of DADT myself, it's good to know that no one will ever be again!," wrote Jeffery Tatro. Most of the comments were positive about the issue.
However, there is a significant amount of service members and veterans that feel differently. John Spyra served in the Army from 1961-1968. He worries about the impact the policy might have on teams during combat missions. "You can always get personal conflicts in something like that and you have to be able to have someone that can back you up," the veteran said.
During his duty, Spyra said the issue was not much discussed. "It was during Vietnam and we had our hands full with what we were doing. We didn't care what they were as long as you kept them to yourself," he said.
Regardless of orientation, Spyra said the call of duty remains the same. "Believe it or not, no matter what your beliefs are, if you're a good soldier, you're going to show up," he said there is no question as to whether or not a Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual soldier can be a good soldier. "There's no two ways about it," he said.
An estimated 14,000 service members were discharged because of the policy. They are now eligible to reenlist. Many are lining up to do so.