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Don't ask, don't tell: How do other countries treat gay soldiers?

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Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

(Read caption) Lt. Dan Choi, stands alone after handcuffing himself to the fence outside the White House during a protest for gay-rights in Washington in April. Turkey is the only other NATO country that allows anti-gay laws like 'don't ask, don't tell.'

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The US Congress appears poised to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military. That would take the US off the same list as Iran and North Korea, countries that also bar homosexuals from fighting for their country.

“Is that where we as a country want to be? I think not,” says Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which is lobbying for a repeal to the "don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) ban.

More than 25 countries specifically allow gays and lesbians to serve in the military, including all original NATO signatories except the US and Turkey.

Some 16 countries – including Pakistan, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen – bar open homosexuals from serving in the military. Across Africa, 37 countries declare homosexuality outright illegal – inside the military or out. Last week, two civilian men in Malawi were convicted and sentenced to serve 14 years in prison for homosexuality.


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