As of today, the Pentagon will now allow openly gay and lesbian servicemen dn women to serve in th US military. The doors are open for those who were discharged to join bak up, and the military is taking a hard stand against LGB harassment.
For the past 18 years DADT has kept thousands of qualified military volunteers from its ranks. The discharge of hundreds of soldiers and the fear of discharge has weighed heavily on the military as recruiting numbers are holding steady after a large boom in 2001 and 2002 and a major drop off in 2004-2006.
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) Executive Director and army veteran Aubrey Sarvis: “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 service members and our nation. Indeed, we have taken a tremendous leap forward for LGBT equality in the military.”
A few more notes:
-- The lifting of the 18-year-old ban also brings a halt to all pending investigations, discharges and other administrative proceedings that were begun under the law passed during Clinton's administration.
-- Existing standards of personal conduct, such as those pertaining to public displays of affection, will continue regardless of sexual orientation.
-- There also will be no immediate changes to eligibility standards for military benefits. All service members already are entitled to certain benefits and entitlements, such as designating a partner as one's life insurance beneficiary or as designated caregiver in the Wounded Warrior program.
-- Gay marriage is one of the thornier issues. An initial move by the Navy earlier this year to train chaplains about same-sex civil unions in states where they are legal was halted after more than five dozen lawmakers objected. The Pentagon is reviewing the issue.
If you would like to be part of the celebration, Gay Central Valley is hosting a rally this evening in Fresno. Event Page found here From 5:30 to 7:00 at the corner of Blackstone and Shaw, come join us as we celebrate and draw together.