"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is Done

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Posted on September 20, 2011 - 1:22am by nadine.

"Today marks the end of "Don't Ask Don't Tell." The law is repealed. From this day forward, gay and lesbian soldiers may serve in our Army with the dignity and respect they deserve." - Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Ray Odierno, et al

With those words, distributed to soldiers around the world, the Army became the first branch of the military to officially declare an end to discrimination based on sexual orientation (click here to read the full memo). Starting today, all branches must follow suit, exactly nine months since the Congress voted for repeal and President Obama signed the order.

Since the passage of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in 1993, approximately 14,000 American soldiers' lives have been turned up-side-down as they were removed from serving their country simply for being lesbian, gay or bisexual. Tens of thousands more were forced to live a lie just to keep their jobs.

While today absolutely calls for celebration, we know there's more work to do tomorrow. We must continue to hold our elected leaders accountable and demand that they rectify the great wrong done to the 14,000 Americans drummed out of the service because of prejudice.

As we celebrate, we also pause to thank everyone who raised their voice for equality.

Thanks to the 5,454 Equality Florida members who took swift action as Congress prepared to vote on the repeal. By email and phone, our members contacted their elected leaders and demanded an end to this discriminatory law. Such an amazing response from our state only makes sense. Florida is home to over 109,000 military personnel, more than any other state except California and Texas.

So let's take the opportunity to celebrate today as a milestone in American history. And let us take an extra moment to acknowledge the courage, sacrifice and determination of servicemembers who risked so much to end discrimination.

We celebrate and stand ready for the work ahead.

Nadine Smith
Executive Director
Equality Florida


Nicole (not verified) says:

September 20, 2011 - 4:12am

Yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssss :)

Mark (not verified) says:

September 21, 2011 - 12:07am

As a combat veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, I would like to say thank you to my fellow equality Florida members and to the organization as a whole for helping make this day a reality! See you at the Gala in Jax :)

Brittany Brunkhorst (not verified) says:

September 26, 2011 - 12:26pm

I am relief that "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is repealed. This policy has hit close to home for me. I was killed out of the military August 2010 because of this policy. I was very dedicated to the military and gave my all everyday. I've served in the war in Iraq. The brief career I had with the military was very successful which was why I had a hard time when I was told to leave. I'm thankful that no one will ever have to go through it again. It doesn't matter who you love. Who you love doesn't stop the mission. What happened to me wasn't fair and I am still dealing with it. Thank you everyone who believes in equality.

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