From the Summary: "In 1993, new laws and regulations pertaining to homosexuals and U.S. military service came into effect reflecting a compromise in policy. This compromise, colloquially referred to as 'don't ask, don't tell,' holds that the presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion which are the essence of military capability. Service members are not to be asked about nor allowed to discuss their homosexuality. This compromise notwithstanding, the issue has remained politically contentious."
CRS Report for Congress, RL30113