Just a week into President Clinton's first term he called his first press conference on January 29, 1993 to announce his plan to lift the U.S. military's longstanding policy banning gay men and lesbians from serving in the Armed Services. This created a firestorm of opposition from the military and conservatives who were dead set against this change in policy. They used all of the shoddy and innacurate ammuntion in their arsenal to prevent the president's plan from coming to fruition.
Integration of gays into society was anathema to conservatives, especially if it showed them in a positive, patriotic light. Instead, they wished to perpetuate the stereotype of gay men as nothing more than silly drag queens at Gay Pride parades. Giving them the opportunity to be seen as defenders of the nation did not sit well with homophobes of the right wing.
Six months later, despite the president's good intentions, the infamous "don't ask, don't tell" directive was unveiled. It would be 18 years before this deeply flawed policy was repealed. During these intervening years 14,000 soldiers were investigated and expelled from the various branches of the military, wasting billions of taxpayer dollars. The closed mindedness of conservatives had trumped the nation's security.