Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Officially Comes to an End!
President Barack Obama declared the official end of the ban on gays serving in the military today. The president has decided that the military can no longer afford to alienate gays and lesbians who might be willing and able to provide their services to their country by forcing them to lie about their personal lives. That means that, at one minute past midnight Eastern Daylight Time, the 1993 law that allowed gays to serve the military only if they kept their sexual orientation private, commonly known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” is no more.
Navy Lt. Gary Ross celebrated the new law by marrying his longtime partner in Vermont at the exact moment of that the change went into affect. Ross will return to work as a surface warfare officer at Ft. Huachuca in Arizona a married man, but he tells the AP he won’t make a big deal out of his new status. He’s just happy that he won’t be subject to a system that, ”requires you to lie several times a day,” at work any longer.
Here is the President’s full statement about the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law:
Today, the discriminatory law known as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is finally and formally repealed. As of today, patriotic Americans in uniform will no longer have to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love. As of today, our armed forces will no longer lose the extraordinary skills and combat experience of so many gay and lesbian service members. And today, as Commander in Chief, I want those who were discharged under this law to know that your country deeply values your service.
I was proud to sign the Repeal Act into law last December because I knew that it would enhance our national security, increase our military readiness, and bring us closer to the principles of equality and fairness that define us as Americans. Today’s achievement is a tribute to all the patriots who fought and marched for change; to Members of Congress, from both parties, who voted for repeal; to our civilian and military leaders who ensured a smooth transition; and to the professionalism of our men and women in uniform who showed that they were ready to move forward together, as one team, to meet the missions we ask of them.
For more than two centuries, we have worked to extend America’s promise to all our citizens. Our armed forces have been both a mirror and a catalyst of that progress, and our troops, including gays and lesbians, have given their lives to defend the freedoms and liberties that we cherish as Americans. Today, every American can be proud that we have taken another great step toward keeping our military the finest in the world and toward fulfilling our nation’s founding ideals.