“Gays in the military”

PARIS: You want the first stand I make against the faculty to involve a fashion choice? It would be my ‘gays in the military.’

Paris refers to the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in regard to allowing gay people to serve in the US military. Bill Clinton had campaigned in 1992 on the promise of allowing all citizens to serve in the military, regardless of sexual orientation. However, on being elected to the presidency, he had to settle with a compromise solution, called the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue” policy, popularly known by its first four words.

Essentially the policy allowed gay people to serve in the military, provided they remained in the closet, while openly gay military personnel could be dishonourably discharged if they “told” anyone they were gay. It was an offence to ask anyone about their sexual orientation, or to pursue an investigation into anyone who didn’t “tell” (remained closeted). Later they added a “Don’t Harass” to the title, to mean the military would not allow harassment or violence against anyone. The policy was repealed in 2010 under the Obama administration, allowing openly gay personnel to serve in the US military. Former president Clinton welcomed the repeal.

Paris is saying that if the first thing she brings in as president is shorter hemlines, it would look like she was starting out by giving in to Francine straight away, like Clinton gave in to Congress.

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