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Idea of the Day: The Freedoms to Serve and Work

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The mid-1990s were a dark time for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, Americans.

In 1993, Congress passed the so-called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, a law that mandated that gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members keep their sexual orientation
a secret or face discharge from the military. In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, defining marriage as between one man and one woman for the purposes of the federal government and federal benefits. That same day, Congress failed—by a single vote—to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, which would have prevented employers from discriminating against workers and job applicants on the basis of sexual orientation.

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To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or

Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues,, faith)
202.478.5328 or

Print: Elise Shulman (oceans)
202.796.9705 or

Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.481.8142 or

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or


This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

For more from the same column, click here