1. Careers
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

US Military Enlistment Standards

Sexual Preference


Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery
Jeff Hutchens/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Note: This article indicates the procedures before the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law was repealed on September 20, 2011. Currently (November 2011), there are no prohibitions against homosexuals openly serving in the Military.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell is the current policy for the United States Military. What that means, in a nutshell is that the military will not ask about someone's sexual preference. That means that homosexuals can service in the military, but they cannot engage in any homosexual conduct, nor can they tell anyone about their sexual preference.

(1) Applicants for enlistment will not be required to reveal their sexual orientation. However, homosexual conduct may be grounds for barring enlistment. Homosexual conduct is any homosexual act, a statement by the applicant that demonstrates propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts, or a homosexual marriage or attempted marriage.

(a) An applicant will be rejected for entry if he or she makes a statement that demonstrates that the applicant has a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts, unless there is a further finding that the applicant has demonstrated that he or she does not have a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts. A statement by the applicant that he or she is a homosexual or bisexual, or words to that effect, creates a reputable presumption that the applicant engages in homosexual acts or has a propensity to do so. However, under DOD policy, the applicant shall be advised of this presumption and given the opportunity under the procedures prescribed below to rebut the presumption by presenting evidence sufficient to demonstrate that he or she does not engage in homosexual acts and does not have a propensity to do so.

(b) If it is discovered that an applicant or a member of the Delayed Entry Program has engaged in, attempted to engage in, or solicited another to engage in a homosexual act and the information is received by a credible source, including, but not limited to, police records check or National Agency Check, the applicant will be denied enlistment. If the circumstances meet (a) above or (c) below of this paragraph, then the procedures below will be followed to determine eligibility.

(c) If the act was a departure from the applicant's customary behavior, and the act is unlikely to recur because it was the result of immaturity, intoxication, or coercion, that the behavior was not accomplished by force, coercion or intimidation, then the applicant may be processed for enlistment in the same manner as (a) above in that a written explanation may be submitted to the approving authority who will rule on the conditions under which the act was committed and determine propensity to further engage in such acts.

(2) An applicant may submit a rebuttal to the presumption that he or she will engage in homosexual acts by presenting written evidence other material the applicant believes relevant. The applicant is responsible to provide his or her recruiter such documents/evidence. The recruiter will submit applicable documents to the Recruiting Commander concerned for final determination.

Readers Respond: Are Military Enlistment Standards too tough, too lax, or just right?

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.