Department of Defense updates sexual orientation discrimination policies for military service

updated the military’s “equal opportunity” anti-discrimination policies to include sexual orientation in its protected classes. This would allow gay, lesbian and bisexual service members to openly serve in the military without the risk of harassment or discrimination. Race, religion, gender and age — among other federally protected classes under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — are also protected classes within the U.S. military. The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was repealed in 2011, which made it legal for gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals to serve in the military without having to hide their sexual orientation. However, those service men and women were not protected from discrimination in the aftermath of its repeal. Adjusting policies to protect these individuals will allow for more people to serve their country without facing harassment or discrimination. “Recognizing that our openness to diversity is one of the things that has allowed us to be the best in the world, we must ensure that everyone who’s able and willing to serve has the full and equal opportunity to do so,” said Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. This announcement brings the military’s discrimination policies in line with last year’s Human Goals Charter, which states that the Pentagon will “strive to make military service in the Department of Defense a model of equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation or national origin.”]]>

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