On September 20, repeal of the insidious Federal law known as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), which kept gay and lesbian military service members from serving in the armed forces and being open about their sexual orientation, finally went into effect, and celebratory events were planned in every one of the 50 states.
“Today marks the official end of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ and is an historic milestone along the journey to achieving LGBT equality in America’s military. Thanks to veterans, active duty leaders, allies and supporters everywhere, this is a monumental day for our servicemembers and our nation. Indeed, we have taken a tremendous leap forward for LGBT equality in the military,” Army Veteran and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis said, continuing, “Our work is far from done, but today we pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of our patriots as we look forward to a new era of military service—one that honors the contributions of all qualified Americans who have served or who wish to serve.”
Sarvis, Colonel Grethe Cammermeyer, Lt. Colonel Victor Fehrenbach, Major Mike Almy, Outserve Co-Founder J.D. Smith, and ThinkProgress.org blogger Zack Ford were expected at the September 20 evening celebration at K Street Lounge in Washington, D.C., and New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Knights Out Executive Director Brenda S. Fulton, Outserve Board Member Katherine Miller, HBO’s “The Strange History of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Producers and Directors Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, SLDN Board Member Mati Weiderpass, and SLDN client Darren Manzella were expected at the one at Stonewall Inn.
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey commented, “Today marks the end of an era. The recent repeal of DADT officially goes into effect today, making this the first day in nearly two decades that lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans can serve openly and honestly in our nation’s military. Our national policy has finally caught up to what three in four Americans already believe—that our entire country benefits when fairness prevails.”