As the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether bans against same-sex marriage are constitutional, we remember another ban: Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the policy under which gays and lesbians in the military were prohibited from disclosing their sexuality.
That ban was lifted in 2011. The man at the Department of Defense who oversaw that process, and who led the effort to research the effect lifting the ban might have, was Greg Brown. He's a University of Minnesota alumnus who retired last year as an Air Force lieutenant colonel. Now Brown is telling his story of how Don't Ask, Don't Tell was repealed.
The topic wasn't even on his radar, he says, before he went to work in the Office of Military Personnel in 2008. Office staff went out for beers on the Friday following that year's presidential election to discuss what a new, incoming Obama administration meant for them. Right away, he says, they identified a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell as something they should prepare for. The Obama administration took a slower approach, and Congress didn't act until 2010.