And now for a last word on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
It has been nearly twenty-four hours since DADT came to an end. There has been a lot of jubilation and no end to the number of reactions from both sides on this issue. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand wrote in her statement:
“Today, we’re ending nearly two decades of injustice in our military.
“‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ has been a drain on our military, our readiness, and our national security for too long, and it must end. Every American, no matter who you are, or who you love, can now serve our country the way we were intended to – with honesty and integrity.”
She also stated that “The Department of Defense must extend support and benefits to all service members and their partners. This includes making same-sex married couples eligible for joint duty assignments, family center programs, and military family housing.”
Gillibrand has been on of the most staunch supporters of repeal since being elevated to the Senate. Senator Patrick Leahy, who voted for the law in the first place and then voted to repeal it, also issued his own statement saying:
Last week, we celebrated the 224th anniversary of the United States Constitution, the document that enshrines the ideals we cherish in this country. These are the ideals that the men and women who wear the uniform fight to protect. Yet for the past 18 years, gays and lesbians serving in the military have not been free to be honest about who they are. For nearly two decades, we have demanded that they hide a part of their identity if they wish to wear the uniform and fight for our ideals. The now-ended policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is fundamentally un-American. It is wrong. And I am proud to say that today, it is fully and finally repealed.
Leahy also stated “I do not believe that ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will end all the problems that our gay and lesbian service members face in the military, but I do believe this is an important step. Every member of our armed services should be judged solely on his or her contribution to the mission.”
Representative Tammy Baldwin, one of the very few openly lesbian or gay members of Congress, said in her statement “Today marks a new chapter in our nation’s continuing quest for equal rights for all. With the end of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ America’s armed forces are stronger, our policies are fairer, and our moral compass guides a truer course.
“My thoughts, today, are with all those gay men and lesbians who suffered directly or indirectly because of discriminatory policies in our military. The injustice they endured is not undone by today’s events. But, I also think of all the young men and women who now have great opportunities to serve their country and live their lives honestly and openly. I am grateful for this day.”
Acting GLAAD President Mike Thompson joined in saying “America took a momentous step forward in the pursuit of full equality by fully repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and opening its military to every brave man and woman willing to serve, whether straight or gay. At long last, gay and lesbian service members can serve their country openly and honestly. The courage, perseverance and patriotism displayed by the American military shines even more brightly today as our nation strengthens its national security and takes a firm stand against discrimination in our Armed Forces.”
“And of course, with the birth of the artist came the inevitable afterbirth… the critic.” (Narrator, History of the World Part 1) This, of course, brings us to the reaction from the . In a piece where they lambast the President for not creating any jobs (but, note, they never complain about the ‘job creators’ who pay nothing in taxes not creating jobs), they used the usual run of idiotic fear mongering saying:
FRC will continue to monitor the consequences of this reversal of 236 years of American military policy, limit the damage–and demand that the Defense Department do the same. Expect to see celebrations from homosexual groups and fawning stories in the media about how “the sky has not fallen.” That’s only because there will be no press releases from the new victims of sexual harassment or assault, the soldiers exposed to HIV-tainted blood, the thousands of servicemembers who choose not to reenlist rather than forfeit their freedom of speech and religion, and the untold number of citizens who choose never to join the military. It’s clear this President is more interested in appeasing sexual revolutionaries than in fighting America’s enemies.
Ah yes, that old canard…actually, there’s a whole flock of canards there, and they are all equally idiotic.
But in the end, it was the wedding of Navy Lieutenant Gary Ross and his long time boyfriend Dan Swezy that put the cap on the end of this law. Ross stated to the AP “We feel that it’s important that as soon as we’re allowed to commit to each other that we do. It’s important not to hide anymore.”
Of course, this brings us to the reality. Tomorrow, these men will not have the same benefits as the rest of Lt. Ross’ colleagues. This battle has been won.
There is a war still to fight- a war for total equality.