1950: President Harry Truman signs the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which sets up discharge rules for homosexual service members.
1982: A defense directive from President Ronald Reagan states that “homosexuality is incompatible with military service’’ and persons who engaged in homosexual acts or stated that they are homosexual or bisexual are discharged.
1992: Presidential candidate Bill Clinton promises to lift the ban on gay men and women in the military.
1993: “Don’t ask, don’t tell’’ is introduced as a compromise. Congress later inserts text in a bill that requires the military to abide by regulations set up in Reagan’s defense directive. But in December 1993, Clinton issues a defense directive that military applicants should not to be asked about their sexual orientation.
2006: The Supreme Court rules unanimously that the federal government could withhold funding to force universities to accept military recruiters in violation of university nondiscrimination policies, thereby upholding don’t ask, don’t tell. The law is also upheld in federal courts five times during its existence.
2008: Senator Barack Obama campaigns on a full repeal of the law.
2010: Defense Secretary Robert Gates imposes more stringent rules of evidence during discharge proceedings. This week, the Senate Armed Services Committee is expected to vote on an amendment to the annual defense spending bill that would end don’t ask, don’t tell.