On Tuesday, the U.S. military announced it had overturned the controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that barred gays and lesbians from openly serving in the U.S. armed forces. But, by the next day, openly gay soldiers were back in limbo after a federal appeals court temporarily put the policy back in effect.
The original repeal of the policy happened because a judge in California said "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" violated the First Amendment rights of gays and lesbians. However, the Obama administration asked her to reconsider while it examined the underlying ruling, and although she refused, a federal appeals court acted to put the policy back in place.
Some people are confused about why the Obama administration would want to put "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" back into effect, since he campaigned against the policy. President Obama insists he still plans to end the policy, but he wants to do so by "following some of the rules" and by taking into consideration the fact that the U.S. is currently at war.
Some conservative advocates say the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy should stay in effect because it could put the military's mission in jeopardy. They insist repealing the law could pose a threat to national security.
The first three minutes of this video give an overview of recent developments surrounding "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the rest is a conversation with Time Magazine's Pentagon correspondent Mark Thompson.
"We're still in a time of war, and soldiers are still needed. Able-bodied and patriotic Americans, regardless of their orientation, are eligible to come on back and sign up to serve their country, openly, honestly, with integrity, acknowledging their partners, acknowledging their families and their lives as full citizens." - Daniel Choi, discharged under don't ask, don't tell policy
"It has to be done in a way that is orderly, because we are involved in a war right now. But this is not a question of whether the policy will end. This policy will end, and it will end on my watch." - President Barack Obama
"At a time when our military is stretched, this is not the time to begin a radical policy change. So, I think the fact that this judge is essentially saying she knows better than military leaders what's best for our nation's military is very troubling, because that actually is a threat to national security." - Tony Perkins, president, Family Research Council
1. What is the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy?
2. Who has the authority to change national laws?
3. Where is the U.S. currently at war?
1. What do you think President Obama means when he says he wants to "follow the rules" when repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell?"
2. How could repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" affect national security? Do you agree that it poses a threat if it's repealed? Why or why not?
3. Why might it be difficult for politicians to follow through on promises they made while campaigning? What factors can get in the way? What campaign promises has President Obama followed through on, and what promises does he still have to work on?
Lesson Plan: Constitutional Amendments and Gay Marriage:
President Revisits 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Policy for Gays in the Military :