Brief History of Gays in the Military

As Congress opens its first hearings into "Don't ask, don't tell" in 17 years, TIME takes a look a the history of the love that dare not speak its name on the battlefield

Bettmann / CORBIS

Spartans capturing Mount Ithome

In his first State of the Union address, President Obama declared that he would work to "finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are." Though a June 2009 Gallup poll showed that 69% of Americans support allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the military, repealing "Don't ask, don't tell" will take more than a declaration — it will take an act of Congress. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are presenting a proposal to...

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