DADT: Gays applaud end of Don't Ask Don't Tell

September 20, 2011

Tampa, Florida -- The executive director for Equality Florida says legalized discrimination has fallen with the end of the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy.

"It's huge not just for the gay community but for Americans," said Nadine Smith.

"This is a quantum leap forward in ending discrimination by the largest employer in the country and I think it really speaks to where we are now as a country."

The policy had been in place since 1993, but ended at 12:01 a.m. EDT Tuesday. The policy prevented those serving in the military from revealing their sexual orientation.

During the 18 years the policy was on the books, more than 13,000 people were dishonorably discharged from the military for breaking it. But those service members will now be allowed to re-enlist.

"I think there's a lot of people that the military has lost because of the policy of discrimination so it's a huge day to celebrate, that institutionalized, legalized discrimination has fallen."

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