This chapter focuses on the preferences of key policymakers and the institutional venue in which they addressed the military ban issue. It first reviews the history of the military's treatment of gays and lesbians. It then evaluates the issue in light of the experience of foreign nations and other efforts to expand opportunities in the military for historically discriminated groups. It shows that most of the same institutional variables that explain the persistence of the ban on gays in the United States also explain the elimination of similar bans in other nations and the lifting of restrictions on the participation of blacks and women in the U.S. military.
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