[Timeline: Chronology to Able v. USA] Page: 1 of 4
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Chronology to Able v. USA
November 17, 1993 -- Congress passes the National Defense
Authorization Act, codifying in federal law for the first time a
ban on military service by lesbians and gay men.
December 22, 1993 -- Department of Defense (DOD) issues
implementing directivesAAthe so-called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
approachAAthat prohibits the government from asking
about their about sexual orientation but provides for subsequent
discharge of anyone found out to be gay.
February 28, 1994 -- Directives for the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
policy take effect
March 7, 1994 -- In the first constitutional challenge to the
military's entire new policy, Lambda and the ACLU bring a
in federal court on behalf of six lesbian and gay servicemembers.
Their suit, Able v. USA, is filed in the U.S. District Court for
the Eastern District of New York.
April 4, 1994 -- Federal District Judge Eugene Nickerson grants
the plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction, preventing
the military from initiating discharge proceedings against any of
the six plaintiffs while the case is active.
January 3, 1995 -- A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of
Appeals upholds Judge Nickerson's preliminary injunction and
directs the trial court to issue a final ruling in the case by
March 31, 1995.
March 13-16, 1995 -- Four-day trial takes place in Able v. USA.
The ACLU and Lambda call six witnesses to testify that the
military's ban discriminates against lesbians and gay men solely
to placate the perceived biases of heterosexual troops. The
government calls no witnesses.
March 30, 1995 -- Judge Eugene Nickerson strikes down anti-gay
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The American Civil Liberties Union. [Timeline: Chronology to Able v. USA], text, 1996; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc786176/m1/1/: accessed January 24, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.