Empowering Talk Radio

Historic Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

The date of September 20, 2011 will go down in history.  It is the date that the 17-year-old law that banned openly gay men, lesbians and bisexuals from military service will be repealed.

President Obama said in a statement, “As of September 20, service members will no longer be forced to hide who they are in order to serve our country.”  Supporters of the repeal compare it to the racial desegregation of troops more than 60 years ago in 1948 by President Harry S. Truman.

The final countdown starts tonight with celebrations and partying expected to last all night long.  In the months leading up to this historic date, with the fear of discovery and reprisal lifted, many gays have begun to openly embrace their new-found freedom.  They have come out to their commanders and peers, brought pictures of their partners to display at work, and openly attended military functions.  In the coming months, the military balls will be seeing troops attending with their same-sex partners.

With the military ban on homosexuality lifted, the Office of the Chief of Navy Chaplains decided that Navy Chaplins will be allowed to perform same-sex marriages in Navy chapels, provided that homosexual marriage is legal in the state where the unions are to be performed.

In preparation for this historic change the military has been providing sensitivity training for their nearly 2 million service members.  The training sessions lasted from 45 to 75 minutes and were conducted in groups of 50 to 250 service members.  Pentagon officials say they “have found no evidence the repeal so far has disrupted forces or harmed unit cohesion as predicted by opponents.”

Air Force Capt. Diane Cox, an emergency room nurse at Travis Air Force base in California, was quoted in the New York Times as saying she got into heated debates with service members vowing not to take showers and share rooms with gays before Congress voted to repeal the law, but after the military held sensitivity trainings to explain the new rules “everybody just shut up.”

Jokes are still told about gay people but the harsh remarks have stopped, she said.

“It’s a new Air Force. I’m really surprised how everything settled down as much as it has.  Some of the best, most honorable people have had the military pin medals of honor on them for combat and then they’ve gotten kicked out over this. It’s shameful. I’m glad it’s done.”

Since the ban against gays became a formal policy in 1993, an estimated 13,000 people have been expelled from the armed forces for violating the rules.  September 20, 2011.  A historic day.


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