President Barack Obama gave his State of the Union Speech tonight, and in the speech he made mention of making sure that “we will ensure equal treatment for all service members, and equal benefits for their families – gay and straight.” It was a small statement, but it is significant. In order to make sure that equality is ensured, of course, the Defense of Marriage Act will have to be repealed one way or the other. President Obama stated, in the full paragraph:
All this work depends on the courage and sacrifice of those who serve in dangerous places at great personal risk – our diplomats, our intelligence officers, and the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. As long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will do whatever we must to protect those who serve their country abroad, and we will maintain the best military in the world. We will invest in new capabilities, even as we reduce waste and wartime spending. We will ensure equal treatment for all service members, and equal benefits for their families – gay and straight. We will draw upon the courage and skills of our sisters and daughters, because women have proven under fire that they are ready for combat. We will keep faith with our veterans – investing in world-class care, including mental health care, for our wounded warriors; supporting our military families; and giving our veterans the benefits, education, and job opportunities they have earned. And I want to thank my wife Michelle and Dr. Jill Biden for their continued dedication to serving our military families as well as they serve us.
OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson reacted to what Obama said by saying:
“President Obama was very clear tonight in his assertion that lesbian and gay service members and their families must be treated equally by the nation they serve. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta opened the path to equal recognition, benefits, and support to gay and lesbian service members this week. To finish the task, the Supreme Court must strike down the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. Secretary Panetta’s successor must enact equal opportunity and non-discrimination policies that protect LGBT troops and ensure America’s military can attract and retain America’s best. And outmoded, obsolete policies that bar qualified American patriots who are transgender from military service must be eliminated. At OutServe-SLDN, we and our 6,000 LGBT members in uniform stand ready to work with the President, Congress, and the Pentagon to make this vision a reality.”