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Professor William Eckhardt introduces the ideas which initiated planning for and later emanated from UMKC School of Law Symposium “Don't Ask, Don't Tell-Implementation and Litigation.” As the title suggests, the Symposium examined the complex and important issues surrounding the policy of the United States toward gays and lesbians in the Armed Forces. This community­wide event was centered in the UMKC Law School Courtroom on the evening of April 11, 1995.

The idea for this Symposium was conceived by Professor Samuel A. Marcosson, a senior attorney in the Office of General Counsel of the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It was his desire to provide as speakers for his Seminar experienced lawyers who were knowledgeable in the litigative nuances of the legal effort of gays and lesbians to obtain civil rights and who had experience in the sophisticated constitutional issues involved in the military context of that question. At the same time, Professor Eckhardt planned to include the same subject in his Seminar in National Security Law. Discussion of a joint venture ensued and resulted in this Symposium.

The debate regarding the policy of our government toward gays and lesbians in the Armed Forces is fraught with controversy and emotion. Believing that ideas are important, especially in a law school, Professors Marcosson and Eckhardt attempted to gather a diverse group of presenters who would educate rather than proselytize. When planning was complete, Professor Marcosson said that he was "confident that the program will lend much-needed light to an issue too often discussed with heat." The validity of his statement provided a lesson for the law school, university, and community.

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University of Missouri Kansas City Law Review