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Cohen Says DoD Will Enforce Gay Policy

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 4, 1997 – DoD will enforce the "don't ask, don't tell" homosexual policy adopted three years ago, said Defense Secretary William Cohen.

"If I find the policy is being violated, that there is active pursuit in prosecution, then I will do whatever I can to see it's stopped," Cohen said, Feb. 26. Cohen responded to questions on the policy after a civilian legal aid organization reported the policy is resulting in more service members than in the past being discharged for homosexuality.

According to The New York Times, a report by the Servicemembers' Legal Defense Network said 850 men and women were discharged for homosexuality in the past year, 18 percent more than the previous year and 42 percent more than in 1994.

Cohen said he had not yet reviewed the report, but DoD officials are looking into the problem.

"My understanding is that there are fluctuations up and down during the course of any given year dealing with this policy," Cohen said. "There has been some gyration on this, but it does not exceed roughly 1 percent of those who enlist, so it's a problem that we're looking at, but it is not of such a gravity that it would warrant any change of policy."

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